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March 22, 2011 at 7:27 PM

Sounders FC quote sheet: Schmid, Rosales, Keller

Here are the transcripts of some chats after Tuesday’s training session…

* * *

SIGI SCHMID, head coach

(How was your birthday celebration?) “We were under water in L.A. What’d it have, like six inches (of rain) in 24 hours? It was alright. My wife got four of my old friends together. They tried to make me feel better about our start to the season — unsuccessfully until we started talking about old stories. Then we started feeling better because we realized we were much better players in our memories than we were probably in our playing days. It was good.”

(The roster is at 29 right now instead of 28 like you mentioned earlier, have injuries played a part in carrying an extra guy?) “No, that’s just the way it turned out. The rules allow us as well. There’s guys that we can still waive if we wanted to, so there’s no risk of going 29 right now or 28.”

(On Mauro Rosales’ play at New York…) “I thought he did alright. It’s a new league so you’ve got to get your feet wet. It was difficult for him because I put him wide right, then I put him into the middle. He’s either wide right or he’s going to play in the middle of midfield for us at times so it all depends what we need.”

(On moving forward from Saturday’s game…) “Short memories are always good. Obviously for us we can talk about the tough start. We were asked to play an amount of games. The Houston game is a day up, so realistically now we are playing three games in like 10 or 11 days, which nobody in the league is being forced to do. As I’ve said before, that’s the price of our own success and that’s OK. Everybody wants to put us on their TV network because they want to get the buzz of the crowd and teams have their best games against us. But overall, I know the results haven’t been good but it’s not like I can be hugely displeased with the way we have played. I think in both games, the New York game especially in the first half we created four or five really quality chances. We can talk about finishing those chances and people have to do better. I don’t see any goals from Angel yet or Donovan or any of those guys either, but I see two great long distance shots from Juninho and that garners you all of a sudden four points. A little of bit of better fortune on a couple of our long distance shots, they go in the back of the net and we’re having a different conversation. I still have complete faith in this team. I think there are still a lot of points on the table. We said 99 after last game. There’s still 96, so there’s more than enough points for what we need. It’s just a matter of us working a little bit harder for the breaks to maybe go our way and continuing to do what we’ve done well because we’ve created chances.”

(On how Carrasco did…) “I thought he did well. He’s a steady player. He’s got a good level of self-confidence, which helps him. He’s alert to the game when he’s on the field. He’s involved in the game, so that takes you through it. He made some mistakes, got caught ball-watching a couple times — where guys ran behind — but then ended up making a great tackle, a saving tackle on the one play as well in the first half. He did well. He didn’t sink in the moment. I thought he did well.”

(On Nate Jaqua’s availability…) “We’ll see. A lot depends now on how he feels tomorrow after doing it today. We’ll see. Obviously guys that are healthy we are going to consider for either the starting 11 or the 18.”

(On what Nate Jaqua brings to team…) “Nate in his one full year where he played the full year in 2009 had career highs in goals and assists. Last year when we probably pushed too many minutes on him right through our Open Cup streak and so forth in that period of time he scored four goals in five Open Cup games, I think it was. He’s shown an ability where he’s a more mature player. He’s an improved player over what he was when he was a younger player in the league with Chicago and went from L.A. and back to Houston and so forth. He’s a guy we feel can score goals. He’s a guy that we feel is a good compliment to what Fredy Montero brings. He’s a guy who can get on the end of crosses and bring a little bit of that size element to us up front, which O’Brian White does as well for us sometimes. He does it with a little bit of speed. But Jaqua is, at this stage, obviously more experienced.”

(On Jaqua moving to right midfield in 2009…) “That’s a long time ago. Obviously we had Freddie Ljungberg here at the time, and Montero, and we were trying to get all our good players on the field and make it work. It was a situation where we didn’t feel Montero’s best position was wide right, Freddie Ljungberg certainly had great history playing wide right — but that’s not where he wanted to be at that stage — so we tried to make it work with Montero and Ljungberg inside and Jaqua as the guy, who for the team said, ‘Yeah, I’ll drift outside and I’ll play here.’ ”

(On what Mauro Rosales brings to team…) “He’s an experienced player and obviously technically good. He’s played in Europe. He understands training. He speaks great English. I think he’s a good person in our locker room. I think people forget that we lost a little bit in our locker room. Sometimes people only look at the playing minutes but when you lose a Tyrone Marshall and a Peter Vagenas those guys are important guys in the locker room in terms of talking to the younger guys, passing on tips and things like that. Rosales gives us a little bit of that again because he’s got a good personality to him as you guys probably saw in the interview and he can talk to all of the guys on the team and he can share some of his experiences, and he already has. He helps us on the field. He helps us off the field.”

(On his experience in South America, considering CCL coming up…) “Any player who’s played at a high level — having played in the Olympics, having played for Ajax, having played obviously at River Plate — his experiences are then something that you can’t just transfer onto young players; you have to learn them. Him having that experience is going to help us in the Champions League and it’s going to help us in every game we play.”

(On Steve Zakuani and Brad Evans on track to playing Friday?) “We’ll see. Again, we got to see how they feel tomorrow after what they did today.”

MAURO ROSALES, midfielder (some answers edited for clarity)

(On coming to MLS) “It was not difficult to have a decision because I’ve watched MLS soccer and it’s great. It’s growing up year by year and when I had a chance to come to a big team as the Seattle Sounders, I had no doubts. It’s a great opportunity to come here and I’m enjoying this moment. I will try to do my best.”

(How do you play? What’s your favorite position?) “My favorite is on the right side of midfield, but I can play many positions going forward — always attacking. At 30 years old I have a lot of teams in my career, good moments and everything. What can I say? This is new with the Seattle Sounders and I will try to do everything that’s possible to have a great team here, to become champion if it’s possible, because this team is working hard to do that.”

(What happened in Mexico?) “I signed in September in 2010. I joined the Mexican team in October-November. I made the preseason, but they bought like 10 foreign players and just had five places to take into the team. I was the last one to come and they said I had to wait until June to play. I didn’t want to wait until June. I just wanted to play now. I said to them, ‘I want to play. If it’s not now I want to leave the team.’ That’s what happened. Then I had this chance and I took it immediately.”

(There were rumors of a failed physical, can you speak to that?) “This was the excuse because they could not put me into the team. It was difficult to say that because I came into the team and there was every newspaper and everything, I was coming from Argentina and my career behind with the national team, and (team officials) didn’t have anything to say to why I could not be in the team. Then they said I was injured or something. They apologized to me, but the mistake was big. When they told it like that they didn’t know that many people would hear it. They made this mistake, said they were sorry and they would do anything to repair what they did. They said sorry but it had already been done.”

(The damage had been done…) “Yeah, that’s right. But I’m OK.”

(On the quality and style of MLS…) “Like what I said before, it’s great how you feel it watching all the teams. They are working very hard. They have many good players. They have fantastic atmosphere, especially Seattle Sounders. Great teams, great players. A lot of great players are coming to this league and it’s growing up very fast.”

(Is the artificial surface a problem?) “No, no. It’s not a problem. I will try to do my best on this team because I like so much to be here. The opportunity that the Seattle Sounders gave to me is great. I have to say thank you to everybody. I have to say thank you to the players to join me very fast to the group, to all the staff and the coach. They’ve given me everything to feel comfortable. This is great. The direction is great too. They are doing the best for me. Now I just have to play.”

(On wearing the No. 10…) “Yeah, the No. 7 is what I use a lot, but it was with James Riley. If I was going to take a number it was like 38 or something. This was available and they gave it to me. It’s not important about the No. 10. I played the last 10 years with No. 7 and when I came here it was already with Riley, and I didn’t have anything to say to Riley. It’s OK.”

(On leaving Argentina) “I finished my contract. I was there for three years and had a good time. I became a champion and then I want to change areas. I wanted to go to somewhere else. I had the opportunity to go to Mexico, which I liked a lot the league from Mexico and I couldn’t play there because of this problem that I had, but this is also a great league that I wanted to join.”

(On the adjustment off the field…) “Perfect. What I said before, I’m enjoying being here. Seattle is a great city. The cold weather, no, and the rain. After that this isn’t any problem for me.”

KASEY KELLER, goalkeeper

(On losing last three regular-season games…) “That’s not a lot of fun. It’s been a while since we’ve done that. It’s early and it’s a little different look than last year. I think there was a time last year where we lost a few games where we really didn’t look like scoring goals. I think this year we’ve had the chances, and they’ll come. That’s where I would be more worried and I’m sure other people would be more worried if (we weren’t creating) those opportunities. I’m happy with the way, for the most part, we’ve defended and we’re keeping it pretty tight. If we play a lot of games where we only concede one goal, we’ll win a lot more than we’ll lose.”

(You don’t sense anyone pressing…) “No, I don’t think so. But it’s always nice to be on a team that has that urgency. It just has that already. I’m not a big fan of complacency, so I’d like to see us just pick that up a little bit — a little intensity and I think we’ll be there.”

(Do you talk to the young guys?) “I’m usually talking a lot. I think guys at some stage in the pros have to figure it out for themselves. At the same time, we’re here as a team of pros to say, ‘Look this needs to be a little better.’ At the same time you don’t want to step on coach’s toes and do their job. I think there’s a good balance here between that leadership — letting guys know what they need to do, the coaches taking care of it — and then also guys needing to figure it out on their own.”

(Does this Houston game have anything extra to it?) “I think there has to be a little bit. I don’t want to lose two games at home in a row and get off to such a bad start to the season. It’s been a difficult start and we know that. At the same time, we’ve been in enough games to win the two that we’ve had. No better time than starting on Friday and getting this thing going in the right direction.”


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