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April 29, 2011 at 1:24 PM

Sounders FC coach Sigi Schmid quotes from Friday

schmid mug.jpgHere’s the full transcript from Friday’s meeting with the media…

* * *

(When you were asked about replacements for Steve Zakuani you mentioned that you might have to change how you play? Did you mean formationally? Tactically?) “It just forces us to change a little bit because there aren’t many players in our league that can do what Zakuani can do, in terms of their abilities to beat players 1-on-1 on a pretty consistent basis from the flank area. It alters how you have to look at it. You always have to use the talents of the players you put on the field. You have a different player — it depends on who’s out there — and that dictates a little bit how we change. Now are we going to change into a 3-5-2 or something like that? No. That’s not what we’re talking about. We’re talking about how we’re going to shape our team a little bit out of maybe a similar formation, but it becomes a slightly different shape.”

(Nathan Sturgis, another familiar face, returns this week. How has his season gone?) “Obviously Nate was an important part of our team last year. I think he was involved with Toronto earlier in the season, playing and starting a couple games. He hasn’t really gotten on the field in the last few games — hasn’t even gotten on the bench. I know (some have been saying) that he might be starting, but we’re not sure. Certainly Nate is a guy who did well in his two years here and played some very vital and key minutes for us last year, and was very involved in our ability to resurrect our season.”

(How do you scout Toronto with all their changes?) “You try and get their media guide, you look at pictures of players that are in their media guide and try to determine who these guys are. (laughs) Obviously they made a lot of changes. They’ve brought in a lot of new faces, a lot of people from Europe as well into their team. There are a few guys that we know, whether it’s a Santos or a Peterson or guys like Dan Gargan, Ty Harden, who have been around the league a little bit so you’re aware of those, Alan Gordon. But there’s a lot of new people and what makes it a little bit harder is they’ve really changed from game to game. They’ve changed who’s played in what position. Maicon Santos has played in the hole behind the center forward; he’s played as the center forward. Stevanovic has played as the left-sided guy, he’s played in the hole and he’s played up top. You’re not quite sure how they’re going to go, but they’ve stayed fairly constant in their formation, so our expectation is we’ll have an idea what their formation is.”

(Does that equalize this weekend? They don’t know what you’ll be doing either.) “Yeah, maybe it does. They’re probably thinking a little bit, ‘How are they going to play and what are they going to do?’ I think Aron Winter’s focus with his team is trying to establish how he wants to play. I think he’s less concerned about the opposition right now. I don’t know what kind of contract he has, and everyone is always concerned with winning and losing, but it seems like he’s going to be given time — more than just a season — to get the team to reshape itself and establish a new identity. Sometimes when you have that time it allows you to be a little more patient as a coach and to experiment a little bit more. I know when I was involved with Bora leading up to the World Cup in ’94, in early ’93 we experimented a ton because there was no pressure, he wasn’t going to get fired, there was no qualifying we had to go through and it gave us time to mold the team and develop the team.”

(Is the decision on Mauro going to game time?) “Yeah, Mauro’s decision is going to be at game time.”

(On O’Brian White’s start and now facing surgery. Some people in Toronto were sad to see him go and you were happy to have him.) “We were definitely happy to have him. We thought sometimes you just need a change of scenery. Sometimes that helps you. He’s from Toronto, so I know he’s got a lot of family and friends there, but for him it was an opportunity to start anew. I think he was really able to use that opportunity for us. He gained some confidence in the early part of the season. He’s tied for our leading goal-scorer and is up there in assists. In essence he was involved in four of our seven goals, so he was definitely involved in our offense. It’s sad to see this particular injury that he’s got. We were happy that they found it so it didn’t turn into a life-threatening situation and now we just got to be patient until they’re able to figure out exactly what happened and get him back on his feet.”

(On Toronto having more width and being less direct…) “We’ve talked about it and so we have an awareness of their desire to spread the field. They spread the field wide with their outside backs, with their wingers, with their center backs spread pretty wide, too. We just have to be careful. The thing is by doing that you create a lot of space for yourselves if the team overcommits sometimes and overreacts. That’s what they’re trying to learn is how to play out of those spaces and it also puts a premium on your ability to pass accurately. That’s something the team has done intermittently very well in games. So we have to be aware of that. We have our game plan as to what we’re going to do and how we’re going to deal with that.”

(Do you have a timetable on White’s return?) “No. None at all.”


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