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March 18, 2011 at 7:21 AM

Sounders FC quote sheet: Montano, Parke, Garber

montano parke.jpgI’m traveling to New York today and won’t be able to update the blog much. Here are some transcripts from earlier in the week to help hold over your Sounders FC fix.

* * *

MIGUEL MONTANO, midfielder, via translator

(How do you feel now that you’ll be staying with Sounders FC for another year?) “I’m really happy to be here. I’m glad to have another year in Seattle. I’m just going to get to work — work and work and work really hard to show that I can have a position within the 18.”

(Were you happy with how last year went?) “Yeah, I’m always really happy and I’ve been happy here. The team treats me really well. They give me a chance to get out there and I can’t ask for more.”

(Even though it was preseason, how special was scoring your first goal with the team during the Cascadia Summit?) “I was really happy. It was my first goal in Seattle and I put in a lot of work in the preseason to make that happen. I’m just really glad it came through.”

(Being a young guy, were you surprised to play Tuesday?) “Yeah, it surprised me a little because I knew there were other players that he could put in. But that’s our job. We’re ready to go in when the coach calls on us.”

(What would you like to see from yourself this year?) “Work, work, work and work. Keep working and maintain a position in the 18, and work to becoming a starter this year.”

JEFF PARKE, defender

(You were signed right before the New York trip last year right? But you didn’t play?) “It was that week that I signed. Right after they left so it was too late.”

(What does it mean to you to go back?) “I mean obviously I put in a lot of time there and have a lot of history. My family is to there — close enough, two hours — so they’ll be able to see the game. New stadium, so I’ll get to see something they promised us for like five years when I was there. It finally came true.”

(Do you miss anything?) “The only thing is being close to my family. Everything else is better here. The only thing I miss is being around and knowing I can go home if I want to for a day off or something like that.”

(Have you been to Red Bull Arena yet?) “I was in it for the Best XI. I went there for that, but it’s different than playing. You just walk through the stadium basically.”

(You had a light day of training Wednesday and a travel day Thursday. How hard does that make it to prepare for Saturday?) “You got to just settle in and forget about the loss and move on. You don’t want to let it beat you twice. But yeah it comes quick. You got to get mentally reset because it’s another big game. (L.A. and New York are) teams that hopefully at the end of the season you’re ahead of. We want to be better than them. We want to be a better franchise than them. We want to be a better organization.”

(Already being 0-1, how important is this one?) “We need a point at least. That’s the minimum. Coming back 0-2 wouldn’t be good. You don’t want to put yourself in a hole. You don’t go in panic mode, but a loss is a loss and it hurts. It’s annoying. We got to hope the next game will bring you joy. New York’s a good team, but I think we’re a better team. We’ll see what happens.”

DON GARBER, MLS commissioner to reporters at First Kick

(Opening thoughts…) “This fan base loves their team and it just never ceases to amaze me when I come into town and do that march to the match, and come into the stadium, how special it is here in Seattle. It’s a great way to start the season. Excited about the year we’ve got high expectations for, two new teams coming in, a lot of new competitive initiatives, a new stadium opening up in Kansas City — off to a good start.”

(What do you think of making First Kick in Seattle a formal thing?) “Well, I’m not sure that will happen, but it’s certainly been pretty good here this year. Many other markets have earned the right and deserve to have the opening match. But it’s certainly pretty darn good here.”

(Have the expansion sides exceeded your expectations commercially and on the field?) “Hard to say about on the field. Certainly commercially they have. As I’ve mentioned in the past, what’s going on with Vancouver is even surprising us. It’s helping us to open up the Canadian market, which is important to the growth of the league. Portland is really operating on all cylinders, announced the naming rights deal — which everyone knows — with Jeld-Wen today. I can’t wait for the opening match at Jeld-Wen stadium.”

(Are there still a number of cities were MLS will expand?) “Yes, at some point we will. In 2012, a 19th team comes in. We continue to hope that the 20th team comes in in New York, but we still have a lot of work to do to finalize that. And we’ll see where we go from there. My guess is we’ll have more than 20 teams at some point, but I don’t know when.”

(If New York falls apart, do you look to the southeast?) “I’ve said many times that we need to be south of Washington D.C. and we’re going to work hard to at some point be able to achieve that. I still get my inbox jammed from people in Miami. We’re still in discussions with the Falcons and we’re monitoring what they’re talking about with their new stadium — which would be a model similar to what’s happened in Seattle. Right now we’re focused on New York.”

(Is there anything you can do about going up against the NCAA tournament on First Kick all the time?) “I don’t think there’s anything we can do about it. It’s a crowded sports market in North America. We’ve got to find our own position and hopefully our fans are committed to us and are soccer people first. Frustrated by that. I got to watch two games by myself in the box and see Salt Lake going up 1-0 by the way against Saprissa. That’s probably something we need to do a little bit differently in years to come, because I hope we’ll be in the (CONCACAF Champions League) semis every year.”

(You’ll be spending a lot of time in the Pac NW this year, ever think about moving?) “No. I like it in New York. The league office will remain in New York, at least as long as I’m commissioner.”

(Do you expect improvement from your weaker franchises? Like in Dallas?) “Dallas is off to a pretty good start in the offseason. They have a new chief executive, a longtime MLS employee Doug Quinn, season-ticket sales are up. I think Dallas will do a lot better this year. So much of our opportunity is to be sure we get the right staff in place and the right plan in place. We had meetings earlier today with our club services group, we got more people spread across the country that are working hard with our teams to help their season-ticket sales. I’m expecting bigger and better things from all markets this year.”

(With Blaise Nkufo leaving Sounders FC today, how do you assess what the DP role has done?) “I think the DP rule has been great. Look at what’s going on out there today. We’ve got one or two designated players that are making an impact on the field. I hope our teams continue to use it judiciously and are smart with what decisions they make. I didn’t know about Nkufo until I walked in this press box to go to the owners suite, so I don’t really know the details of that.”

(Colorado and New England also have attendance issues, what about them?) “I think Colorado is going to do a lot better this year. New England has been trying hard to get a new stadium for that club. I think the Kraft family is committed to that if they can get the right public support. In many markets — and Kansas City is a great example — you have somebody really coming out from the public and supporting development in the stadium. Similar to what is here in Seattle. Unfortunately we haven’t been able to achieve that in D.C. and achieve that in Boston. I hope they’re able to do so. I think that will help with their attendance issues.”

(How would you like to see the DP rule used? OK with young players getting extensions?) “The purpose of the designated player rule when it was conceived was to bring in players that could grow our attendance and television ratings. That’s what it was conceived for. It’s evolved to stretch a bit beyond that, but our hope is that teams are able to use their resources in a way where we’re growing our fan base. At the same time, if that player can make an impact on the field — two guys in L.A. are an example of that, Fredy will be an example of that — then I think it’s going to work. How it evolves going forward, whether it’s used for young players or signing American players, it’s something we’ll have to continue to take a look at. Good thing about our league is we can assess things are we’re going on, recognize that it’s still a new league, it’s only 16 years old, if we have to evolve our rules and strategy, we’re brave enough to do that.”

(Has Beckham expressed interest in owning his own team soon?) “He has. David Beckham has the right to an expansion team as part of his contract after he finishes playing. I’m sure at some point he’ll exercise that right and we hope to welcome him as an owner.”

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