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April 19, 2011 at 7:36 PM

Sounders FC quote sheet: Schmid, Flaco, Montero, Alonso

Seattle Sounders FC Logo.jpgHere are the transcripts from some interviews Tuesday…

* * *

SIGI SCHMID, head coach

(On the CONCACAF Champions Cup run with L.A. …) “The competition in 2000 was much different because it was a tournament where all the teams came to one location and you sort of played your group games and advanced out your group and played. It wasn’t the home and away, and the competition the way it is now. It was harder in a sense because (you might have) happened to hit a few weeks where you weren’t on. For us in particular that competition was really tough because we had just added Alexi Lalas to the team and he wasn’t fit. Danny Califf ended up getting injured and couldn’t play at all. Then we had no forwards — all our forwards were injured — so we actually took a kid named Adam Frye, who had played forward for me when he was a freshman at UCLA and hadn’t played forward since. He had played as a defender for five years; we played him at center forward. We ended up winning the competition with him at center forward and Ezra had two goals in the final against Olimpia in a game we won 3-2. It was much different. That was the first year a team could qualify for the World Club Championships. We were pretty excited. Then they canceled it, so that was obviously very, very disappointing. It’s a great opportunity for our league. It’s a great opportunity for Salt Lake. Obviously we want to see them do very well.”

(Being the last MLS team that played Monterrey, what’s the scouting report?) “They’re a good team. We said when we started group play last year with our team that we were probably in the toughest group. With two of the four teams, you got one team in the final and another team got knocked out in the semifinal. I think it shows we were in the toughest group for sure. They’re a good team. Monterrey is a difficult place to play at. Their stadium is a difficult place to play. We were able to get up on them but it was a game that they didn’t necessarily need to win, so they probably approached the game a little bit differently and sat some players that were very important. They’re a team that over the last year and a half in Mexico has been the most consistent team.”

(On the upcoming match at Colorado…) “For us in Colorado, they’re a team that is a quality team that has been disappointed with their last two results. Now they are coming home so they want to take revenge on somebody and we are the next target there in that regard. But we also feel that we can play well on the road. A lot depends on them. Mastroeni, is he going to be back or not back? Is Casey going to be able to even play off the bench? Those are question marks for them but they are a good quality team that obviously wants to get back on the winning trail.”

(On Seattle’s 3-5-2 formation…) “It depends. The reason you have success sometimes if you do something is because it’s unexpected and the opponent isn’t prepared for it. It’s a different thing if you say we are going to play a 3-5-2 and the opponent has a chance to prepare for it and then they start looking at what are the strengths and weaknesses, do we have the wide players. A lot of teams that play a 3-5-2 have wide players that are really defenders first and attackers second so whether you want to call it a 5-3-2 or whatever. For us, it was successful this weekend because it allowed us to get a group of players on the field that we felt could create something for us, caught the opponent by surprise and the people worked very hard in that formation for that period of time. Is it something that is long-term? That’s something you can’t say at this point.”

(What’d you work on today?) “Kicking people? (laughs) … We had what we call Tournament Day which is sort of like a little fun thing that everybody has to keep track of their own points. We just wanted to move the ball a little bit so we played a bit of one-touch and we played the tournament. It’s 5v5 and in 5v5 there’s not a lot of places to hide. You got to do the job on both ends of the field and I thought it was good. I thought our mentality today in training was good. I thought it was lively so it was good.”

(On Sounders FC lineup…) “It’s something that every week it’s going to be that sort of situation. You got to look at who’s playing well and obviously if you have enough depth and enough people that are playing well you could even rest some people along the way because it does get a strain playing the amount of games you have to play — and you can keep the troops sharp and energetic. How it’s going to look this weekend? Who is going to play? Right now I couldn’t tell you. I haven’t really made up my mind. Is there a possibility that there will be some changes in every part of the field? Yes, very possible.”

(How did Fernandez handle benching?) “Nobody is ever happy losing their starting job. It’s a situation of his English is such that we still need a translator when we talk. Especially when you get into more depth. We sat down, we talked and tried to explain to him very succinctly what I was looking for. I think he understood it. He came out and trained and brought that into training, and I thought he brought the same thing into the game. It wasn’t just his header. It was his activity level; it was good, he made a lot of good runs off the ball, he got back as well and defended, his transition was much better. That’s a thing he can do because he’s a skillful player, he has good size and he can help us out in the air — as he showed in that headed goal.”

(Is that what you were looking for?) “Obviously those details are between him and me. It’s a matter of, sometimes players get into a funk where they think they’re putting everything into it but they might not be putting everything into it. But in their minds they are. So sometimes you got to wake them up from that. Other times it’s just the touch is not good for you, it’s not going well, maybe there’s stuff off the field going on — you don’t know. We talked about a number of different things, but the most important thing is he responded well and he came back with renewed energy, which is important.”

(Do you see him as a right midfielder?) “He can play any of the midfield positions, but I think he’s probably most comfortable on the outside, either right or left. He does have good speed, it allows him to use that speed and so forth. I think he can play in the middle of midfield as well. We wouldn’t hesitate to use him there, but right now we think we have options possibly there that are better. Certainly on the wing is I think right now his most effective position.”

(What do you know about Benny Feilhaber? He’s a UCLA guy and wasn’t he with you with the U.S. U-20s?) “Yeah, obviously I have a lot of respect for Benny as a player. He walked on at UCLA, wasn’t a guy who got a scholarship. When I took over the under-20 team I had seen him play so I called him into the under-20 team. He had never been on any state team or national or regional teams and then he did really well for us. He started for us at the youth world championships and that’s what catapulted him into a contract with Hamburg. From there everybody knows where he’s gone. He’s a technical midfielder. He’s good with the ball. He’s a good passer of the ball. Over the years he’s played a little more outside midfield now than inside midfield. He’s certainly a quality player and it’s good to see him come back to the league.”

(As far as I know he doesn’t have a team yet. Any interest in bringing him to Seattle?) “Well we’re way down on the list so it’s a matter of what Chivas wants to do. Anytime when you’re looking at a player there’s a number of things you have to look at. When you bring a player that makes ‘X’ amount of money, that means you also have to move a player that makes ‘X’ amount of money. It’d be easy to say, ‘Let’s bring this guy in and replace this guy who’s making a different sum of money.’ You just can’t do that. You have to look at all the ramifications. What are the ramifications on the salary cap, etc.? Can you get two players for the price of that one player? Does that make you a better team? Those are the things you deal with when you have a cap. If you’re a European coach you don’t deal with that stuff.”

(On playing Montero/Rosales together…) “We played them in a different vein where they were both playing in the middle, one more as a attacking midfielder and the other one up front. Again, you got to have a good balance if you’re playing a 4-4-2. Are you playing two midfielders? Are you playing three? Can you balance off the outside? I think it has the possibility certainly of working and there’s thing that can work off each other. I thought Mauro did well again for us. I thought Fredy had an influence and impact on the game when he came in, so now we got to figure out if we can get them both on the field and make it work.”

(On playing the MLS Cup holders on the road…) “For us, our main concern is just to worry about us and continue to play good soccer, play better soccer. I think we have shown in the past our capabilities of being able to play all the top teams on a pretty equal footing and that’s something we want to do. We were a little bit disappointed in our game in Philadelphia. We are very pleased that we came back and got the point, got the equalizer because it showed a good attitude at the end of the game. But we are also displeased because we think we can play better than that. So now we got to go into Colorado and see if we can steal some points there and get three points there. And by steal I don’t mean that we are going to sit back and hope to score a goal and sit back. But we do think we are a good road team. We want to bring our road record to .500 and we need one more win to do that.”

ALVARO FERNANDEZ, midfielder, via translator

(How did it feel to have come off the bench and score the big goal?) “Really good. Really happy. I’ve sort of been waiting for my chance to come off the bench and make an impact. I had a chance to do that Saturday and I felt good about that.”

(Hard not playing as much as you’d like?) “No. Nobody likes to sit on the bench but I’ve sort of been biding my time and working hard and waiting for my opportunity to get back in there and show what I can do.”

(What did Schmid talk to you about in the midweek meeting?) “Really those are the things you sort of talk about in private with your trainer and your coach. But I think the important thing that we talked about was working my hardest and working my best and I think he saw that I could do that.”

(On relationship with Schmid…) “I’ve never had a problem with Sigi or any of the coaches. That doesn’t mean that I agree with the decisions that were made, but that is there job, to sort of see the things from outside and let us know what we are supposed to do.”

(What are you trying to improve?) “No, I just think I’m working a little bit harder on being aggressive. It’s what I was missing. Just doing what I’m doing, but being more aggressive.”

(What triggered playing more aggressively?) “Really I think the one thing was playing a bit tougher on defense. That was one of the things that we talked about so that was something I tried to focus on more.”

(How’s your English coming?) “The classes are really good. The teacher is awesome. [Ed note: the teacher is the translator] We just hope to make some progress.”

FREDY MONTERO, forward, via translator

(How did it feel to be able to play Saturday, even with the cast?) “Great. I’m really happy just to be able to get on the pitch and help because when I’m on the bench I can’t do anything to help the team. Playing with the cast, it’s a little bit heavy, but I just have to get used to it because I have three or four more weeks probably wearing the cast.”

(On Rosales…) “He’s a great player, a really smart and intelligent player. As a team we just have to take advantage of what he can do.”

(On the 3-5-2…) “”I think for that game you really have to give a point to the coach because he put that strategy together. I’m not sure that’s one that we can use for 90 minutes, but at least we know we have it in the toolbox.”

(Has it been difficult on you having not scored a goal in a while?) “No. Actually I feel pretty calm and I know that I’ve been training my hardest. I’ve been playing well in the games I’ve played and I’ve tried to convert goals. It hasn’t happened yet, but it could be in the next game. We’ll just keep working toward that.”

(On coming off the bench…) “As a player I don’t really get to choose the games I play. I don’t really like to come off the bench, but when I do come off the bench it’s because I know the team needs some help on offense and I do my best to score a goal.”

(On Alvaro Fernandez…) “Coming off the bench I think he was really happy he scored. He demonstrated absolutely the caliber of player that he is. I just hope he can maintain that and we can keep going the direction we’re going.”

OSVALDO ALONSO, midfielder, via translator

(Did you think you committed a foul on the play just before Philadelphia’s goal?) “It was a difficult play. I think I got the ball with my right foot, but maybe I got the player a little bit with my left foot in the end.”

(On leading MLS in touches and tackles…) “I just learned that today and I’m happy about it. That sounds good. That’s how I can really contribute to the team.”

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