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March 14, 2011 at 2:12 PM

Sounders FC coach Sigi Schmid quotes from Monday

schmid mug.jpgI didn’t have my trusty point-and-shoot camera with me today, so there won’t be a photo reel later. Practice was closed for the last few minutes so I wouldn’t have had much to shoot anyways. Once training opened to reporters Brad Evans walked off the field with a trainer. Steve Zakuani walked off a little after that.

I’ve added the quote below where coach Sigi Schmid said both guys will be game-time decisions, but admitted Zakuani was further along than Evans. Read into that what you like. Players weren’t available for comment the day before a game, so here’s the entire quote sheet today:

* * *

(Any last thoughts before the game?) “Just excited. Excited. Looking forward to it. It’s going to be a great day and it’s going to be a great day for football in the (United) States. It’s a great day for people in the Northwest and again it draws the attention of MLS to our area. It shows what we have become as a city in regards to the importance of soccer.”

(With a 34-game schedule, does 51 points become the magic number for the playoffs?) “Oh geez. I didn’t expect that question. Well 1.5 point a game, so yeah … 51 if my math is right. That would probably do it. That’s always a pretty safe number. It depends on how the competition goes, how much people are knocking each other off along the way. Sometimes that increases or decreases, but that’s a good number.”

(On the rivalry with L.A. after last year…) “Last year wasn’t much of a rivalry because they beat us all the time. It’s important for us to turn it around. Obviously we got an important win for us, which Bruce really downplayed, in the Open Cup. It’s seemed like it was not an important game. I know Bruce; he’s competitive. He wants to win every game he puts his team out for, and so am I. I was disappointed with our results in the playoffs against them and we want to make a better showing of it.”

(That was the last time you leave the training field before the season starts. Maybe it’s a simplistic question, but do you like where you’re at?) “Yeah, I like where we are at. If I didn’t like where we were at right now it would be too late to change anything anyways. I definitely like where we are at. I thought the team looked sharp today. They seemed enthusiastic. I can see the excitement building in them, so it’s a great time.”

(Can this team contend for the Supporters Shield?) “We would love to do that. We would love to be in competition for the Supporters Shield, but our number one goal is to get to the playoffs and to do better than we did last year in the playoffs because that’s what people remember. We’ll take as many points along the way. We would like to secure our position earlier rather than to have to fight for it. It’s always easier when you get off to a good start.”

(In general, how is this team different from last year?) “I think certainly we have gotten more depth in midfield. I think the addition of Erik Friberg and the addition of Servando Carrasco I think gives us a little more depth in midfield. Michael Seamon is still here. We only lost Sturgis. I think we added a couple players. I think we have a little more depth up front in terms of bigger target strikers. When you look at O’Brian White, Jaqua, who is still coming off injury but he’ll be ready soon, that gives us some size to go along with the size we already have.”

(On Steve Zakuani and Brad Evans…) “It’ll be a game-time decision. Steve is still probably further along than Brad at this stage but that’s a decision we will make tomorrow.”

(On signing Miguel Montano and Josh Ford…) “It’s great. It’s good for [Miguel] to be with us from the beginning on. I think it’s important. He’s still a young player so he still has ups and downs but his upside is so good. The glimpses he shows is something that we are very, very excited about. I think his fitness base is better than it was last year. When the opportunities come to play in games he’s just got to take full advantage of those. We are happy about that. And Josh Ford, obviously it was a real tough battle and it was a tough decision, but he’s come through every day. He has worked hard. His character has been good. He’s improved all the time and we’re really happy to have him on the team.”

(What are the expectations for Nkufo? 15 goals?) “I don’t know if you set a goal mark. Obviously we expect him to be a player who can contribute for us up front, hold the ball up and get other people involved in the game — also finish the opportunities that get presented to him. I always hate throwing a number out there. And the end of the day, the number I want is I want our team to score more goals than we did last year. If we can get our average up to 1.5-2 goals a game, that’s where we want to be.”

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