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April 20, 2011 at 5:02 PM

Sounders FC coach Sigi Schmid quotes from Wednesday

schmid mug.jpgHere’s the full transcript of his meeting with the media…

* * *

(What can you learn from Salt Lake’s run in the CCL?) “When you look at the very beginning, the one thing you learn is playing more games at home in the beginning of group stage is important for you to get in a rhythm and do well. When you look at the teams that advanced and the teams that didn’t advance, the teams that advanced are the teams that played two out of their first three at home. The teams that didn’t advance were the ones that played two of their first three away, or possibly more. You learn that when you look at it. But also they’re a team that’s been playing well. They’ve been in good form and gone and gotten some results on the road. They have a good mix of veterans, but also some young guys or new guys, but all their guys are experienced. Even a guy like Ned Grabavoy has been in the league for eight years. It’s hard for me to think of that because I drafted him way back when in 2003, but he’s an eight-year veteran of the league. When you look at that team you’d consider him one of the young guys almost. So it’s a very experienced, very veteran team. Chris Wingert has been in the league nine years or so. There’s not a lot that rattles them. That’s something you grow into and obviously them being successful is good for our league as well.”

(Is Colorado this year looked at like RSL was looked at last year after being almost a flukey MLS Cup champion?) “There are some things of comparison there. It’s like the year they won it wasn’t necessarily their best regular season and then they showed the stability. But it’s really a ‘Which came first? The chicken or the egg?’ Their stability, did it come because they won the championship and they gained some confidence? So now they are playing with that confidence and they got that wind at their backs and they’re saying, ‘OK, we are a good team.’ Whereas if they maybe don’t win the championship they still are a little bit nervous, a little bit unsure. So which was it first? Did they become a good team and then get confident? Or did they get some confidence through a good run and then able to maintain it and sustain it? They both have quality players, but the difference in our league between one team and another — even as good as Salt Lake is at this stage — is not that great. Certainly that confidence is sometimes the tipping point as to what takes one team over another.”

(You set a four-point goal for this two-game road trip. How important are internal motivations over a long season?) “I was hoping to get three in Philly and one in Colorado and then as we went into injury time in Philly I said, ‘OK, I’ll take one today and we’ll save the three for Colorado.’ But no, it’s a tough place to play but we always try to go into road games with the ambition of walking away with a win. It’s like we were just talking about with confidence. Our team’s confidence is growing and being able to go on the road and get a win against a good team helps that, gives it another infusion. Then if we can come home and also pick up a win at home then all of a sudden the guys are like, ‘OK, this is good now. We can look forward to it.’ It’s just a matter of trying to pick up that confidence factor, that confidence role and putting it into our bag and taking it with us. It’s going to be a very difficult assignment. Colorado is a good team. They have lost their last two games so they’re going to be a hungry team.”

(How has the team changed without Tyrone Marshall and Sanna Nyassi?) “Obviously Tyrone added a lot of experience. Tyrone and Peter Vagenas are guys who have been around, they’ve been through things and won championships with teams and so forth. Their experience sometimes, even when they weren’t on the field, just their presence in the locker room was an important factor on our team. Those guys not being here, Tyrone not being here you take away a little bit of that presence and that helps the team’s confidence, since we’ve been talking about that. Sanna is certainly a guy who played with a lot of energy, really came on last year, played a lot better at the end of last year — got better every year. He was also sort of a player favorite. The players enjoyed him and liked him because he just had a different personality, so we miss that part of it as well.”

(On wanting to prove those offseason moves right…) “When you go into an expansion draft you really don’t have a lot of choice over the moves you want to make. You’re going to lose some players if you’re a good team. There are certain teams that didn’t lose any players. I might be wrong, but I don’t think Houston lost anybody in the expansion. We had already lost two players by the time it got to the third round — I think by the first six picks. That reflects to me, ‘Hey, we had a good team. We had a team that people respected.’ So now we needed to replace the parts that we lost and our goal is always to do better than the year before. We want to also establish consistency and be a team that you know you got to reckon with them every year, a team that’s going to be in the playoffs every year. We don’t want to be a fly-by-night, one-year, we-win-it-and-then-we-disappear type of team. I think over the first two years we have done that. We have shown we’ve been a consistent team and we got to continue to show that and we want to go further than we have gone.”

(You mentioned Pete, any thoughts on him trying to catch on with Vancouver?) “It’s great for Pete. I know he’s been looking for a team and looking for an opportunity. As I’ve said to Pete, I’ve always felt he’s a good player and a solid player, it’s the injuries that have sort of gotten in the way of his ability to get on the field and show what we can do.”

(Did you hear about him maybe going to play in Japan?) “Yeah, he obviously had a good connection there because of Afshin Ghotbi — who is somebody that was Pete’s youth club coach and he’s worked in Korea and he was the national coach of Iran. Afshin got a job in Japan and was going to bring Pete over into that team. Then obviously with the earthquake and tsunami that ended up changing those plans.”

(With Benny Feilhaber joining MLS, how important is for U.S. men’s national team players to come back to play here?) “It’s always an ebb and a flow. You’re going to lose some and you’re going to gain some back. You look at losing Stuart Holden recently and getting someone like Benny back or Charlie Davies. I think that’s always going to happen. That’s just a natural progression of everything. It’s good to get those guys back because they come back with the experiences that they’ve gained in Europe. It’s also good because it gives our league (a look) at how we compare with the leagues there. It gives them a good comparison on how we compare there as well. Obviously for those players now it’s a matter of coming back, adjusting and so forth. Charlie has gotten off to a great start with goals, even though a few of them have been PKs. He’s gotten his goals and I’m sure Benny will do well. Benny’s a quality player.”

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