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March 12, 2011 at 5:49 PM

Sounders FC quote sheet: Schmid, Parke, Gonzalez

Here are the transcripts of today’s chats at Sounders FC training. I’ll keep the injury updates on Steve Zakuani and Brad Evans before the jump. Sounds like relatively good news for both.

* * *

SIGI SCHMID, head coach

(On Steve Zakuani and Brad Evans…) “Obviously they did some work today so now the thing is how they feel tomorrow, but we are pretty pleased with what they were able to do today. Both of them were able to run a bit so we were happy about that.”

(Did you put out an injury report? Are they questionable, probable…) “I don’t know. … If you’re talking to L.A. you don’t even find out if guys are injured.”

(Did you ever figure out what Zakauni’s injury was?) “It was a similar type of injury to what Fucito had, but not nearly as severe.”

(On assessing what you’ve accomplished in the preseason…) “You would always like to win games at the end of the day. But I read this somewhere, one of my old players at Columbus said that in 2007 we went undefeated in preseason and didn’t make the playoffs and in 2008 we were like .500 in preseason and won the championship. It’s got no bearing. If you look at preseason and look at spring training, right now the Mariners should probably win the pennant. They’re right up there. So it’s not the ultimate predictor. Scores are one thing so for me now it’s like have we accomplish things? Have we moved forward as a team yet? I think we have done a good job of identifying the group of players and who can play where and who is an alternative to whom. The advancement of some of the players in the middle of our midfield, Servando Carrasco certainly improved his stock, when you got a guy like Erik Friberg who can come into the game when Brad Evans goes off injured and have a major impact on the game, that’s a good thing. So we have seen that we’ve got some quality reserve players.”

(Any surprises?) “Surprises in the positive sense are like Servando and Erik, for sure they’re good surprise. The quick rehabilitation for Jhon Kennedy Hurtado coming into the flow of the game and playing. Evans getting through all of preseason without an injury. Those have definitely been surprises. Disappointments have been not getting more goals out of our front group, but in the last game we got goals from our front group.”

(How would you assess Hurtado at this stage?) “It’s been good. I still don’t think he’s razor sharp. He worked hard last year with the injury. Physically I think he’s really close to being there it’s just fine-tuning a little bit of timing, all the instincts that really only come back from playing games.”

(On rivalry with L.A. Galaxy…) “Obviously last year we played L.A. five times and we only won one. So from that standpoint it’s definitely something that is a (rivalry) in the sense that we played them as often as anybody last year and we came out on the short end. It’s definitely a team that motivates our group of players and they want to do well against a team like them.”

(How would you assess the Galaxy?) “L.A.’s a good team. It’s a good team. When you start with Landon Donovan, you’re a good team. He’s probably, if not the most influential player in the league, I’d be hard-pressed to name another. When you look at their team overall they’ve got some good unity now. They’ve got guys that have played together for a little bit, Franklin and Omar Gonzalez for a couple years. Dunivant’s been at left back. A.J. DeLaGarza, whoever it is. Juninho now is going into his second year with them. Birchall’s in his second or third year, I’m not sure. Beckham, Donovan have been there. They’ve added Angel, which is obviously a big presence. So are they going to play Barrett up front with him? Are they going to come with Magee, who’s in his third year with the team now. They’ve got a lot of pieces that have been there now for a while.”

(With those new pieces, how much different do they look?) “You really don’t know. Bruce just like us has looked at different things in preseason. I think they’ve looked at playing Angel as a solo striker with somebody underneath him. Whether that’s Perdozo, the kid they drafted, whether that’s Donovan sometimes or Magee. They’ve also looked at playing two strikers, playing Barrett next to him or playing Landon next to him and see what that looks like. But I don’t think Bruce is going to tell me the way he’s going to play in game one. We’ll find out when we get the lineup and when the game starts.”

(On the target of the opener being there in training…) “It’s always good. The motivation is good. For our guys because of the Cascadia Summit and the way the games were structured they have done a lot. Yesterday was a good off day for them and I thought today’s training was sharp. We are trying to keep it sharp and short to make sure that we are ready for our game on Tuesday. When you know you’re in preseason, the next game is another preseason game so you’re sort of in one state of mind. When you know that now it’s going to be the real thing you go into a different state of mind.”

(Could NFL labor issues benefit MLS?) “Maybe if they don’t put on the NFL draft or something. I mean generally football season starts when we get to the end of our season. We’re in the same business, there’s the players and there’s the ownership, and you always want that to be resolved so that the games can continue and that the sport continues. For us, we’re not going to sit here and say this is a good situation for us. No, we’re Seahawks/Sounders organization and we want to see the Seahawks be successful, and the Seahawks want to see the Sounders be successful. For them to be successful, having a good and quick end to the strike is important for them.”

(Do you have any thoughts on Garber’s points of emphasis to protect attacking soccer?) “Scary. My thoughts on that are that’s very scary because whenever Sepp Blatter talks about that before a World Cup the first two games are like in shambles because nobody’s quite sure what the referee’s going to call. What used to be offsides, is it still offsides? The rules are the rules. The rules haven’t changed, so it’s how they interpret those. There’s been times where I disagree with it. You have the extreme example of a guy who’s offsides, but they play the ball to the winger, so they say, ‘He wasn’t offside’ and let the play go on. Then the winger goes and crosses the ball and the guy who started off five yards offsides scores on a header and it’s like, ‘Well he wouldn’t have got there if he wouldn’t have had a five-yard headstart.’ But they say, ‘No it’s not offsides, it’s a new play.’ I don’t think the rule is right in that situation. Then another situation where the guy is offside but the ball gets played past him and the winger runs on to it and goes in on a 1v1 and buries the ball, I agree, there should be no offsides on that. How they interpret that, how they look at that… I think they got to protect the players more. I think consistency of the calls is something that still has to be there. Even the other night, our game against Colorado, sometimes you say, ‘That was a foul, but that wasn’t?’ Whenever you’re going into those discussions that’s I think when you become concerned as a coach. I think protecting the players, promoting offensive soccer, that’s all good. It’s all good, it’s all positive and it’s what we want to do. It’s going to take time for the officials to interpret what they’re being asked to do and it’s going to take time for the players to understand how the officials are interpreting the calls.”

JEFF PARKE, defender

(On the L.A. rivalry) “It’s a big one. Obviously they knocked us out of the playoffs and beat up on us during the season. We had a good go at them the year before, but last year they ran us up and down the field. It’s important that we get out and set the tone and get a win to start the season out right.”

(On the Galaxy’s roster changes) “They’re a good team no matter what. I think they upgraded with players. Barrett is a handful and obviously Juan Pablo, I’ve played with him and hold him to the highest standard. He’s one of the best players I’ve played with. To see if they play well together that’s a different story. You have to look at it like they’re improved and you’re going to have to improve to beat them and put in a full 90.”

(On defending Angel) “He’s not going to beat you with pace, but he’s going to beat you just with his smarts and his runs. His finishing around the box is one of the best I’ve seen. (They key is) just keeping a hand on him, keeping an eye on him and a body. Just make it hard for him all day and make him work for his opportunities.”

(You missed last few openers, what’s it like for you going into this one for the first time after a full preseason? Is it different for you?) “Yeah, it definitely is. You’re around the guys a lot more now and you see how the team is shaping up. We’re getting the rust off and starting fresh. It’s good to be with the guys and start with them, getting a full go and a full season with them.”

(Do you remember the last time you had a full preseason like this?) “It’s been some years. It’s funny because it went by so fast looking back on it. It was tough, but I’m just happy to get a full preseason to get the rust off, get the kinks out and get in shape.”

(On having the first game right in front of you now…) “Yeah, it’s crazy. I look back on it now and James was saying in one of our first meetings that it’s 48 days. I’m sitting there now looking at it and it’s just days away, it’s unbelievable how fast time goes. It’s big. It’s exciting. Obviously with the crowd being what it is, the magnitude of the game, and playing L.A., it’s even better.”

LEO GONZALEZ, defender

(On going up against an L.A. team that beat you four times last year…) “In soccer every single game is different. We’re very conscious of the fact that it didn’t go well last year. We had a lot of different problems on the field. Like from every game, we take away the lessons we can learn and apply them to now. This is a new season.”

(On the new-look Galaxy offense…) “We don’t necessarily look at the team as individuals but as a group overall. They’re a strong team and a big team in the MLS, but we have to focus on what we can do. We have to be careful of certain players like Donovan, and when it’s a set piece, their taller players like Juan Pablo Angel. It’s really the work that we do and we have to watch our game.”

(On the competition at left back…) “I see the same competition as last year. There are individuals players like Tyson and Tetteh that can play there, but as long as the competition is for the good of the team than it’s welcome.”


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