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March 28, 2011 at 10:26 PM

Sounders FC quote sheet: Sigi Schmid and Brad Evans

I posted the interview with Alvaro Fernandez earlier, but here are some other chats from after Monday’s training session.

* * *

SIGI SCHMID, head coach

(On having eight days in between games…) “We don’t know what to do so we decided to train really, really long today so we could kill some of the time in between (laughs). No, it’s good to get into a rhythm. We can work on some things today. We can have a little bit of fun but still work on some things as well so that was good.”

(On James Riley…) “We’ve got to follow the protocol. He was better today so obviously he was on the field, he did some running, went through the warm-up with the team so now, providing he doesn’t have a setback then he can do more. I don’t know if he is all in tomorrow but he’ll be close to it.”

(On Mike Fucito…) “Fucito was all in today.”

(Is he progressing well?) “He seems to be. He said he was OK. Today was a hard day for him so now we will see how he feels tomorrow.”

(On the competition at midfield…) “It’s good to have competition, you know? It’s a matter of whoever’s playing best is going to go out there and play. In the last game I thought Evans and Friberg did a good job. Both of them. Obviously Fernandez is a quality player who’s scored some big goals for our club as well and he’s a guy who can play there. Rosales is coming on. It’s going to be interesting. Right now we’re only playing league games. Obviously when we get to the other games things sort of resolve themselves — everyone gets playing time. Right now the games are limited so it’s a matter of who’s performing on a day-to-day basis. Those guys definitely have to be within their toes.”

(How much versatility do those guys have?) “There’s a lot of versatility. What we did today in training is we random put together teams. So Evans twice got stuck on a team with no defenders, so he ended up playing central defense. I used him at central defense a game or two when I had him with the under-20s. It’s a position he can play. So Evans can play on the right, he can play in the middle, he can play central defense, he can play right back. Friberg can play on the right, he can play on the left, he can play in the middle. Flaco has shown he can play on the right, left and middle and Rosales is the same. It’s good because we have different options and sometimes it depends on what we need. We felt we were better off with Evans in the middle of midfield against Houston because of just their physical presence there with Cameron. We felt he’d be a better match-up, so with those options we can looks at match-ups at times.”

(Do you lean more towards playing match-ups?) “No, I lean more towards the hot hand, the one who’s playing well, who’s in form, who’s physically 100-percent. Those guys are so close in competition that if somebody’s walking around with a knock and is only 75-80 percent, chances are the other guy is going to be better.”

(On Patrick Ianni…) “I think he has handled it OK. For a large part of preseason he was out injured so there was really no discussion and no battle. So now with him not being injured obviously there is a little bit of a battle there. It’s the same thing as it is in midfield. All three of those guys are MLS capable defenders and it’s a matter of maybe who is in form, who is playing well and because of his injury in preseason we never had enough of an opportunity to look at the different combinations and what worked together best. So the combination of Patrick and Kennedy we never really got a chance to look at. I’m sure at some point that is going to happen as well.”

(On the reserve league…) “The main advantage is that you are playing against better competition. You’re playing against guys who are in a similar position as you are. You’re playing against guys who are coming back from injury as well, guys who for one reason or another aren’t in the team. If you look at San Jose, if Khari Stephenson — because he went international — if he’s not with the team, then maybe he’s playing in the reserve game. So that becomes a good test for someone like Carrasco, if he’s not in our starting lineup. You get better opposition and that makes it a good thing. What we are trying to do with our reserve games is we are trying to make them a game. Play them at night, play them in the stadium, get some people out to watch the games, create an atmosphere around the games so that even takes it to the next level. Most of the teams are going to play it on a Sunday morning or a Monday morning in a park in front of a few friends and family.”

BRAD EVANS, midfielder

(On talking the positives from Friday) “It was encouraging for sure. Somebody asked me if we had planned on pressuring them right out of the gate, to get the ball in behind, but honestly we didn’t. It’s just something that I think everybody was feeding off each other in the game. Everybody before the game said, ‘It’s all together. We’re doing this for each other.’ I think maybe we were missing that in the first two games. I think it was a case of everybody working hard for each other, working off each other and the energy was just there. With the crowd, combined with the few good chances, you just get on a roll. Especially at home, at our stadium it’s hard for another team to get into a rhythm once they’ve kind of taken the back foot. I think it’s absolutely an encouraging result for us.”

(Does getting 26 shots and all that make it more fun?) “Oh yeah, absolutely. It was a really fun game to play in for sure. I can’t remember a game feeling like we were dominating a team as much as we did, personally at least. I felt like we pretty much dominated every category so I think that’s something positive we can take away for sure. Obviously it’s more fun when you’re not conceding as many chances and you’re creating as many as we did.”

(On the competition in midfield) “I hope to continue some good performances and kind of solidify my role. I think that’s the thing I’m focusing on the most is just playing my game, getting back into a rhythm. Obviously I’m not 90-minutes fit so that’s also something I’ve got to think about is I think I push a little bit too hard in trying to win that spot back — to my detriment, I get maybe a pulled muscle or a tweak here and there. So talking with the coaches it’ll probably be a situation where 70-75 minute over the next couple games and slowly get the fitness during the week. The competition creates for a better team, better competitiveness for sure during practices. And in the game if you make a mistake it’s kind of like we can fill the spot, so it’s a quick change. Sometimes in the past it’s been, ‘Let’s give him a couple games,’ now if you’re not performing someone is going to take your spot.”

(Your game is so much about running and work rate, how does that affect you as you come back from injury?) “I think that’s an important part of my game is making those late runs and transitioning from defense and getting into the attack. Talking with Sigi in the past couple offseasons, it’s been a case of the late runs are great but they have to be made at the right time. There’s no point in making seven late runs into the box if you’re only making two of them really hard and good solid runs. I think something I got to focus on is when I do go it’s got to be at the right times. If I don’t, and the ball gets turned over, we have a huge gap. Still covering the ground, but being more aware of the situation — I think that will help myself and help the team as well.”

(What was training like today?) “It’s tough because they drew the teams at random so you can be stuck with five forwards and some teams have five defenders. It’s tactics as well — knowing who’s on your team, who’s not, who can play where. Obviously if you have five forwards and a couple of midfielders, Nate (Jaqua is) probably not going to play center back, so it’s up to a midfielder to play center back and for him to keep his role as a striker. I think it’s probably a case of scoring goals with the goals in tight. And we’ll hear it in the next few days when they tally the points who’s on top and who’s on bottom. And whoever’s on bottom will get the short end of the stick for sure.”

(How important is this San Jose game?) “I think this game is extremely important. We have some momentum now, but what we did this weekend doesn’t necessarily guarantee success on the weekend now. I think the most important thing that we talked about after the game and Saturday during regen is we keep the ball rolling, keep working hard and our chances are going to come. It hasn’t been a case of we’re not creating chances. That would be a completely different story. It’s just a matter of finishing them now. Once luck turns hopefully we bang a few away, but playing away is a little bit different so if we get one and hold them to zero I think we’ll be happy with that.”


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