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May 14, 2011 at 12:47 PM

Sounders FC quote sheet: Hinton, Gabriel, Schmid

Seattle Sounders FC Logo.jpgThe last of the quotes from the week’s build-up…

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ALAN HINTON, former NASL Sounders coach

(On the game coming up…) “I think you can tell there’s a real buzz about the place, isn’t there? Playing regular games is exciting, but this is absolutely magnificent. Playing at this level against the Timbers is absolutely big-time. For me, and I speak for Jimmy too, we’ve spent all week talking about it. It’s like the old days are coming around again. It’s wonderful. There’s a buzz in town. There’s a buzz in the coffee shops. There’s a buzz in the pubs, restaurants. I’ve never seen so many people talk to me about the Sounders because this game is bringing everybody into a good happy mood. But ultimately all the fanfare, all the bragging, all the pushing and shoving and good friendly banter, the result of the game will be decided on the pitch by the players.”

(Has the rivalry has always been there, even from back in the early years?) “Oh absolutely. With all due respect to the previous Sounders before this — I called them the ‘Little Sounders’ and put them together in ’94 and won the championship in ’95 — but it was a good vehicle for the continuity of the Sounders. I’m glad it was there, but it was a small deal compared to the NASL days and certainly compared with the days now. All I know is when Portland came here all the fans would be at FX McRory’s and now there’s dozens places around where they can go get jugged up. I think it’s probably the same. People are talking to me about there’s going to be some fan trouble. There won’t be any fan trouble. There was never any fan trouble in the ’70s and ’80s. The fans will come in, they’ll do the best they can, they’ll cheer for their team and that’s the way it should be. In the end, I truly believe the true-blue fans from Portland and Seattle will shake hands with the opposite fans after the game like they used to do.”

(Was there as much of an organized away support back in those days?) “Oh yeah. The disappointing thing for me, and I’m not speaking for the Sounders, I’m speaking for me, I personally don’t have a problem with Portland getting tickets for several-thousand people because we have the capacity to do it. It disappoints me that they’re restricted to 500 people. I know why, because they can’t take us down there. And Vancouver can’t take more than 500 people up there when we go there. For me, a better atmosphere is created by more and more people. I know if I was a Sounders player and I could hear 5,000-10,000 Portland fans cheering at our stadium, I’d want to stick it to them big time and It would make me want to play even harder. That’s my position. I think it’s going to be a great crowd with a lot of enthusiasm. I think it’s going to be a right battle, but it has been a battle against Portland in the past and we’re both on 13 points. They’ve done very well at home. They’ve got an army of huge guys for set plays. Jack Jewsbury takes very good corners and free kicks. You’ve got Kenny cooper — and that shows how old I am, I played with his dad in Dallas in 1977. He was a goalkeeper. I’ve watched Kenny Cooper’s career because of my friendship with his dad and he’s a proven player. He’s 26 years of age. He scores goals wherever he goes. He’s mean, a good football player. And then you got the guys in the back, Brunner and Futty Danso, they’re unbelievable. They’re very strong and we have to make sure we defend big-time against set plays.”

(Any memories that stand out in the rivalry?) “In 1982, I was the coach of the Sounders and we finished up going to The Soccer Bowl. We won the division on the very last game of the season because we had a bad start to that season. I think we were 2-7 at one point and I think we won the division with an 18-14 record. We had to win at Portland on the last game of the regular season. I remember sitting on the sidelines and we had a corner kick late in the game. It was 0-0 and Ray Evans was the right back and he came to the bench for a drink. I shouted to Ray, ‘Go ahead and take off! There’s a short corner on!’ So he left the water and ran down the sidelines and they didn’t know what he was doing. He got the ball on the short corner, hit it to the near post and in comes Mark Peterson from Tacoma and he scored the winning goal.

“I also remember I wasn’t sure if I was going to stay in America after my first year 1977 against Dallas. So I went to the Soccer Bowl in Portland with Kenny Cooper, Sr. I loved the weekend. I got a great picture of Pele, which I still have. I had a great weekend and I made the decision there and then that’d I come back and be a part of the North American Soccer League for Year 2. Of course we all loved Clive Charles, who played for them and was a coach at the University of Portland with Kasey. He’s not going to be here. He died a few years ago. He was a great friend and a great soccer guy. Clive would’ve been thrilled if the oldest rivalry was back. The most dangerous player who used to play for Portland was Clyde Best. Big Clyde Best from Bermuda. Played for West Ham. He was huge and he could run by everybody. He was a thorn in everybody’s side. No question about it.”

(What happened in 1980? Did you say you played on the ash of Mount St. Helens?) “That’s right. After Mount St. Helens blew (again on June 12, 1980) we were playing there … down in Portland. The wind must’ve been blowing south and on all the seats in the stadium and on the field you could see a sprinkling of ash. I think we won that game, too. I’m not sure, but I think we did.”

(So Portland is the reason you’re still in the U.S.?) “Oh, absolutely. That’s why I went. Nobody paid for me to go to Portland; I paid my own way. I went with Kenny Cooper, because we were roommates and good pals. And I opened up with him and said, ‘I don’t know if I want to come back.’ He said, ‘Come on. We’re going to the Soccer Bowl.’ But Jimmy Gabriel and I are good friends and we’ve done nothing but talk about this rivalry and it’s exciting.”

JIMMY GABRIEL, former NASL Sounders player/coach

(On the game coming up…) “We want to win it. Every time we play them we want to beat them by as big a score as we can. But most of the games have been really tight. When I was playing, way back then, most of the games were very tight and the odd goal would win it. Thinking back, we did quite well against them. We won a few games against them. It was always good, but I think the second year we were here, in 1975, they knocked us out of the playoffs and went right to the final and got beat in the final by (the Tampa Bay Rowdies).

“It’s always been good. It’s always been fun to play against them because when I think back we had Everton versus Liverpool, and that was in the city of Liverpool. That was a big derby game for us, I remember that. Game after game was fantastic. I must have played about 15-20 times when I was there and it was better than any other game. The fans were all geared up, and you were all geared up, 90 minutes seemed like 40 minutes. It seemed like 20 minutes a half because it was so exciting. When we won it, one time we beat Liverpool 4-nil on their grounds, which was unheard of. Oh, that was wonderful! But I see the same thing happening here. Even just in the league below we were playing against them and it was always a tight game, a difficult game to go out there and win.”

(Any big memories stand out?) “I think the first game for me, I’d have to look at the record books, but I think I scored a goal in one down there. We played them at home in Memorial Stadium and we won that one. I think we lost a game down there and lost in the playoffs. It was kind of even. The game I said in the paper where I came on, it was 2-0 to them and I said, ‘I better get out there and help the guys out.’ I pulled a muscle or whatever, and it inspired the guys for some reason. We came back and beat them 3-2. That game stands out, but it’s a long time back.”

(That’s a pretty good one though…) “Harry Redknapp and Bobby Howe were trying to pull me off (the field), and I’m like, ‘You’re not pulling me off. I’m the head coach! You’re the assistant coaches. I’m staying on.’ ”

(How old were you then?) “I was 36, so I was all right to be able to play. I strained a muscle but it wasn’t as bad as being down 2-0. I felt that a lot deeper. So I went on and the boys did well and pulled it off.”

(How often did you do that? Did you do that much again?) “No, I think I got the message. Go on, do a little run, make a tackle and pull a muscle. That’s time to go.”

SIGI SCHMID, Sounders FC head coach

(Did Chivas-Galaxy or anything approach what you’ve seen this week?) “I think Chivas-Galaxy is a rivalry where the teams are in close proximity in L.A., but it’s more a rivalry that people tried to create. With the Honda Trophy, people tried to make it into a rivalry. This is a rivalry that you don’t have to make into a rivalry. It already exists. It’s been there. It’s been there for the last 30-plus years. It’s nothing that you have to contrive. It’s nothing that you have to whip into a frenzy. It’s there.”

(On the Cascadia Cup…) “Personally, I haven’t seen the Cascadia Cup yet because they kept in down in the USL after we came up to MLS. We never saw it. … Obviously the Cascadia Cup has a lot of history to it and that being brought back into the forefront is something that is great for the fan groups.”

(Is there any update on O’Brian White or Steve Zakuani, and might they be at the game on Saturday?) “Don’t know yet on either one. That’s something where we’ve reached out for them. We’re sort of letting them decide how they feel, whether they want to come or they don’t want to come. It all depends on their physical status as well, because the doctors are requiring a certain amount of rest for each of them right now as they recover. But they’re both doing better, they’re both making headway and hopefully within the next week or so — a week to two weeks — we’ll definitely be seeing them out here.

(Are they both still in the hospital?) “No, they’re both at home now.”

(Evans and Rosales the same as yesterday?) “Evans felt alright coming into training. Mauro felt much better. We’re going to see how he feels tomorrow before we make a final decision, but Evans feels pretty good. I think he’s OK.”


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