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March 2, 2011 at 5:15 PM

Sounders FC quote sheet: Sigi Schmid and Adrian Hanauer

I have a lot going on this afternoon/evening but here are transcripts that coach Sigi Schmid and GM Adrian Hanauer had with the press today. Schmid’s transcript is full and has a little more than the team provided. Hanauer’s is partial as I had to get to another interview toward the end.

* * *

SIGI SCHMID, head coach

(On returning to Seattle for final weeks of preseason training…) “It’s the final phase of preseason so now it’s a matter of us just getting the final phase to our game, which is defending in our box, attacking in their box and making sure that we work well together as a unit.”

(On Lamar Neagle…) “It’s a great story. It’s a reflection of the effort that he put in. When we talked last year and we said, ‘Look, I don’t see it happening here right now but if you’re serious about this you have got to go someplace and play,’ which he did. He took the step. He went away from home. He played, got good minutes, had a good year. It improved his game and he came back here and now he’s with us. It’s just the old adage, coaches aren’t going to like me saying this, but at the end of the day players develop if they can play in competitive game situations that are challenging to them and if you just practice, practice, practice that’s not going to develop you. He was able to get into game situations at a higher level than he might have been playing at and that allowed him to develop and grow.”

(On Neagle’s confidence…) “Confidence makes a big difference because for him now, he’s played there, he’s had success, he had a good year there — he knows, ‘Hey wait a second. I can do the job.’ It was at a better level than he was at in college, so then his self-confidence grows. For us he’s a player that’s versatile: he can play on the flank, he can play up top for us. His one-touch layoffs, his movement around the goal have definitely improved because of his confidence.”

(On Servando Carrasco…) “Servando has done well. His attitude is great. He is one of those guys who really competes every day. If anything sometimes we have got to harness him back a little bit because he wants to compete, he wants to win. He’s a defensive midfielder. He likes to sit in. He’s not afraid of a tackle. He strikes a good long ball, he opens it up. He scored a good goal against Chicago for the winner there. He’s just been everything we thought he could be based upon what we saw and he’s a good influence at training everyday because he comes to compete everyday.”

(On Cascadia Summit matches…) “It’s games that are important and it’s obviously rivalry games but it’s still part of preseason for us. Obviously we have to make a decision a little bit in terms of the units we are going to play, when we are going to play one unit, when we are going to play the other. That’s something we are still kicking around a little bit but it’s important for us to continue to play well, continue to work well as a team. It gives us a chance to play on turf because we have been doing a lot of playing on grass and that’s what we have got to get ready for for the first game against L.A.”

(On Pat Noonan’s status…) “He’s got a unique contractual situation, so that’s really an Adrian question. It’s a situation right now where he’s been coming through with his training off his injury and we’re able to give him some time to progress before we got to make a final decision.”

(On third goalkeeper…) “Obviously it’s nice to have four around for training purposes and so forth. I know we’ve got to make a decision on that. They’ve made it real tough so we’ve tried to give it as much time as possible. I think if we have to make a decision tomorrow we probably can but we are looking at some alternatives as well because, as I said earlier, we like both kids.”

(On Boss being the No. 2…) “Boss is No. 2 right now based on the experience certainly that he’s had. I’ve always said and you always hear me say this, players decide at the end of the day. So you might be No. 3 tomorrow, but you could be No. 2 in three weeks if the effort’s there and if somebody else’s effort falls off a little bit. But Boss is the guy. He’s our No. 2. We feel very confident that he can step onto the field if something’s wrong with Kasey. Boss made a tremendous save in the Chicago game that kept us in that game when we were dominating but gave up a counter opportunity. So we’ve very happy with him.”

(On who’s leading between the rookie GKs, can you say…?) “No, I can’t say that. That’s really for us. If we have a discussion, we get mixed opinions. Sometimes it depends on the day. But we’re looking at the whole package and all I can say is they’re both good kids, they come out and work hard everyday and they’re certainly capable of stepping onto the field in MLS one day or else we wouldn’t be considering them both.”

(On Jonathan Prieto…) “He’s down in southern California right now. We didn’t sign him and he’s a player that ‘What’s his next opportunity?’ is something he has to think about.”

(On Nate Jaqua…) “Jaqua is getting better and is closer. I almost wanted to throw him into the 9v9 today and I was told I couldn’t. They still want to keep him as a neutral player but he’s been doing a lot of finishing. He feels good, doesn’t feel any setbacks from day to day so that’s good.”

(On Mike Seamon…) “With Mike we are not quite sure what the ailment is so they’re trying to figure it out and he’s under doctor’s care right now. We are trying to be careful with him until they figure it out but it’s not a pulled muscle or anything like that. It’s more of a complicated medical thing that I wouldn’t be able to say. It could be a viral thing but I’m speculating. The doctors are the ones to ask about that.”

ADRIAN HANAUER, general manager

(On Manchester United report) “They’re certainly in the category of ‘top five team in the world’ but other than that, no comment.”

(Do you know when an announcement could be coming?) “I’m not going to say again. (laughs) I’ve been wrong so many times. … Before the game happens.”

(On the roster) “We’re getting close. So March 1, the league calls it roster compliance, and what I’ve said is at that point you do need to be compliant but it doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s the absolute finished product. We’ve still got a few things we’re going to do, but we’re definitely getting close.”

(How many are signed?) “I don’t know without looking. I know in my mind who’s likely to be in and out, but I think we’re maybe at 26 officially signed. 25 maybe. We’ve got guys that have options at certain points this spring.”

(On Noonan’s status) “We have an option on Noonan that comes up pretty soon. Noonan is one that’s been here, good senior veteran leader, but there’s certainly a decision point still on him.”

(On the Cascadia Summit) It was several months ago and it was a combination of things. One, more games at home, close to the beginning of the season. That was a big priority, to get more minutes for the players. It seemed to make sense from a logistical standpoint and to a lesser degree from a marketing standpoint, just continuing to try and build the buzz on the rivalry. Finally, we thought it might be a good opportunity to get the supporters together, perhaps in not quite as much of a cauldron as when the regular season beings. Hopefully they get to communicate with each other. Maybe get together. The ECS and Timbers Army might have a soccer game together. Then connected to that, we thought with the groups in town we would create some events around it that sort of tied into the three groups being here.”

(Will this be an annual thing or will you see how it goes this one time?) “I think both are probably the case. We like the idea of it being an annual, but we’ll see how it goes this year. Champions League could complicate it, if a team were playing in the Champions League, you’d have a game last night somewhere. But you can always move the date. I think to assume it’ll be an annual thing is probably premature, but we’d like to think of it as an annual thing.

(Would the next ones be in Portland or Vancouver?) “Yeah, I think that would be the idea.”

(Any concern over how the fan groups will interact this season?) “Absolutely. Yeah. I think it’d be naive… Seattle, Portland, Vancouver, clearly a supercharged atmosphere, but I think even before that rivalry kicks off, the league and our teams have made supporter security, culture, interaction a priority. I think this just ramps up the level of prioritization.”

(On Nkufo’s last year) “I know Sigi felt a little bit sheepish after saying that because players always have a chance to change their mind. With Kasey, we talked about it being his final year, but he’s a grown man. He can change his mind if he wants. I think he expect that this is Blaise’s last year but it’s his decision.”


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