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June 2, 2011 at 6:41 PM

Sounders FC quote sheet: Keller, Wahl, Montero, Hurtado

Seattle Sounders FC Logo.jpgSounders FC had an early practice this morning followed by a flight to Chicago. Here are some player quotes from this week:

* * *

KASEY KELLER, goalkeeper

(What’s the deal with all this rain?) “I have no idea. We were joking that as soon as the nice weather comes it’ll be 90 degrees with 98-percent humidity. So that’s what we’re going to get. It’s going to go from one end to the other. Frustrating, but as long as we win it’s all right. I’ll play in bad weather with the wins.”

(What does it change?) “It’s just not fun to play in, especially at night with the wind, and you combine that with it being like 44 degrees. You expect that in February, but you don’t expect that in the end of May. That’s what makes it that little bit colder, because you’re just not expecting it.”

(And Chicago should be hot and humid?) “Definitely. I’m sure there will be a fluke heat wave that’s going to just crush us and say, ‘You don’t like it cold? Here, have some of this.’ ”

(On bouncing back after the midweek loss…) “It’s just great. It shows the resilience (after) the disappointment of losing the home game, and then to be able to go somewhere where they haven’t lost in 29 games at home and to do that. We rode our luck a little bit, but at the same time we created our luck — great goal from Lamar and just a good team effort the other night. I’m just proud that the guys came through and we held on. Is it some sort of springboard? I don’t know. You just don’t want to go on any losing streak. You like to say, ‘We lost the game? OK. Come back and win.’ You just don’t get to where you lose, two-, three-, four games in a row. You bounce right back.”

(Regarding Lamar’s goal, was it good to see some other guys step up?) “Definitely. It takes pressure off a lot of other people, but at the same time you got to have that competition. When guys step up and they come in and they get their opportunity, you love to see them take advantage of it. Great finish and obviously he’s going to be pushing everyday in practice to try and make sure that it’s a difficult for the coaches not to put him on the field. When they see a goal like that, that’s always going to be in their mind. You see what happened when he came in and played this game — he got a game winner for us. Good for him.”

(Same can be said for Tyson Wahl?) “Yeah, Tyson’s been great. Besides kind of what you get from him, giving us some extra size, he really has done a great job and working hard in his service. You see what he gives us in free kicks and delivery; defending he’s always been pretty solid, there’s no question there. Wherever you can give the coaches multiple reasons to put you on the field, it makes a big difference. Tyson has really stepped up and provided that consistent service for us on free kicks that maybe we’ve lacked in the past. There’s a reason why we’re scoring more goals on set pieces, because of the quality of service.”

(On teams that change coaches being more motivated…) “There’s always a case of that in every sport. You never want to play the team that changes its coach the next game because there always seems to be some new motivation. But we’re not too worried about those kinds of things. We know that if we go out and perform the way we’re capable of performing that we’re going to give ourselves a chance every game. There’s no difference. They’re not going to buy five players by the time we get there and totally change their team, but we do have to understand that it is going to be a little bit different for them. Could be a different look than what we’ve been used to. I don’t know if Schmetzer is going to buy into this, but you’re not going to need too much tape for this game because it’s going to be a little bit of a different look.”

(On the move being an opportunity for players…) “That’s it, because someone has probably been upset because he hasn’t played as much under a certain coach. A new coach comes in and it’s his opportunity to say, ‘Hey, maybe I’ll get a chance now because for whatever reason I didn’t mesh with this guy. Or the system he was applying didn’t mesh with me, and the new guy thinks differently.’ There’s that motivation of getting the chance, now take advantage of it. That’s always something to be wary of, but I feel good with the way we’ve been playing for the most part.”

(How well do you know Klopas?) “I played with Frank with the national team for years, but I have no idea what he’s going to do as a coach. I like Frank. We’ve gotten along really well over the years. If he’s the guy, then I wish him the best of luck after Saturday.”

(On taking advantage of going a man up two times this year…) “It’s huge. If you look at any kind of sports situation, obviously hockey with power plays, it’s a massive part of the game. When you have a man advantage in soccer it’s a big advantage that you have to take advantage of. We did that. We did it on both occasions. Maybe a little bit fortuitously at different times with the man advantage, but at the same time, it’s our two away wins. It’s also a credit that we haven’t put ourselves in that situation. I think in years past we’ve had to play some games with a man down for stretches of games. It definitely takes its toll on you. Now we’ve been able to say, ‘OK fine, you’re going to take a guy down then we’re going to take the three points from you.’ ”

TYSON WAHL, defender

(Two assists already, what’s it like being a playmaker?) “As a defender you’re not necessarily a playmaker, so it’s something that’s new to me — not to say that I’ve been playmaking. Guys have done well to get on the end of a few corner kicks, and then obviously the pass to Lamar was much more so Lamar’s good work than mine. It’s really just guys finishing plays and scoring goals off plays that I’ve kind of been involved in.”

(What went into you taking corner kicks?) “I think one of the things that’s helped is just kind of being left-footed, so they’re looking for an in-swinger. That helps, and I think I can hit a pretty good ball. It’s probably just them seeing it in practice, then checking it out in practice and finally doing it in games.”

(What did you think about that new role?) “I was excited. I want to contribute in any way I can. That’s one way where I can help contribute; definitely excited.”

(You’ve had to wait a while for this chance, what went into earning the starting role?) “It’s been a lot of patience and a lot of hard work, and that hard work is going to have to continue. You’re never stable in a position, so you always have to keep working hard.”

(On the transition…) “It’s not so much only just the corner kicks. It’s just everyday working on attributes of an outside back that I wasn’t used to coming in as a center back. Three years ago I hadn’t played a whole lot as an outside back. It comes down to losing more weight, getting more fit, working on crossing balls, getting forward more, then really just valuing an opportunity to play. Opportunities to play don’t come around very often, especially for a defender and especially on a team that has a lot of good defenders. I just knew that I had to value the opportunity I did get.”

(How did a preexisting relationship with fitness coach Dave Tenney in Kansas City help that physical transition?) “He’s been very good for injury prevention and performance enhancing, with lifting and weight training. Dave knows me pretty well and I think we have a good partnership. He knows what it takes for me to get fit, so it’s helpful.”

(What was harder when you weren’t getting much playing time, staying physically sharp or the mental side?) “I would say for me it’s definitely mental, because I have no problem working hard and putting the fitness in. Everyone is out here working hard and putting the fitness in, but it’s really just mentally staying concentrated and thinking of things you can continue to work on even if you’re not out on the field.”

(You ever run so much in games?) “No. This is the lightest I’ve been ever in my entire career. Definitely trying to run a lot and get forward as much as possible.”

(So what’s your weight in relation to what the media guide says?) “Probably 10 pounds less. Somewhere around there.”

(How about getting a goal yourself on a free kick?) “It’d be nice to score a goal for sure, but we have some other guys that hit free kicks pretty well, too. So maybe I’ll start working on those a little bit in practice.”

FREDY MONTERO, forward, via translator

(How much longer with the brace?) “I have an appointment with the doctor today and I’ll see what he says.”

(Why did you choose to play in the reserve game?) “I just felt like there had been a lot of days without a really good training. We had the trip and then the day before we didn’t practice. On Wednesday we had a day of regeneration. Then I only played 20 minutes in the other game and I just thought I’d take advantage of the opportunity to get some playing time and keep my training up.”

(Do you change anything in your approach after taking a reduced role?) “No. It’s just a chance to sort of see the game from the outside. Being on the bench you have a chance to observe and analyze what’s happening in the game. When you get a chance to go in you really had a chance to focus on what the other team is doing. You sort of take advantage of the opportunities that are presented.”

(What’s it like playing in all the rain?) “I think it’s not really a problem for us. We play in the rain all the time, and for me, if all the games were rainy it’d be fine.”

(After two successful years, do you think you’re defended differently now?) “Absolutely. I think the other teams have gotten to know who I am and what I have. They specifically defend against that, but I just need to sort of grow with that and keep giving my all.”

JHON KENNEDY HURTADO, defender, via translator

(Your mates in the back, Jeff and Pat, each scored goals recently, is it your turn now?) “It’s great that they have scored goals. It just proves that we’re a team. I’m ready. I’m just going to be waiting for my opportunity, and I’m going to be just as happy as they were.”

(Do you feel stronger than you did just a couple months ago?) “For sure. It’s a real credit to our training staff that they had a vision on how long my recovery was going to be. As the season started and I was getting in shape, they gave me a chance to rest a couple of games. That was really great. I feel stronger than ever and I’m just looking forward to the rest of the season.”

(So not playing every minute was a good thing?) “All soccer players want to play every minute. I would love to play every minute of every game, but I know that the trainers have made some very smart decisions on my behalf, and I’ve made smart decisions too. They’ve been helpful for my recovery. I just want to keep playing. I’m grateful for the opportunities that I’ve had and I want to keep growing as a football player and as a person.”

(It seems everyone has taken a turn on the bench this season, how has Fredy handled it?) “We all know what a great player Fredy is, and in this sport sometimes you’re in and sometimes you’re out. Right now Fredy’s out but he’s taking it with great responsibility and professionalism. We hope that soon he’s off the bench, back in the game and playing the type of soccer we all know he’s capable of playing.”

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