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June 8, 2011 at 7:08 AM

Sounders FC quote sheet: Chris Henderson and Sigi Schmid

Seattle Sounders FC Logo.jpgHere are a couple interview transcripts from Tuesday night:

* * *

CHRIS HENDERSON, technical director

(What can you tell us about Cillian Sheridan?) “He’s a player that’s played at Celtic. He’s played at Motherwell. He was coming from CSKA Sofia and they gave us permission to look at him. He’s (under contract) with them, but he’s here through the 14th. He’s been a little bit tired from the long flight, but you can see tonight some of the things he offers. He’s good in front of the box. I think we want to limit his minutes to make sure he’s fresh and we can take a good look this week.”

(Is he someone that could stay longer?) “We have to look. We’ll have other trialists come in. In the next 3-4 weeks, we’ll have a lot of players coming in that we’re looking at and he’s one of them. We don’t make a determination after one practice and half a game, but it’s good to see he’s connecting with players. Tonight’s been good for combination play.”

(Is he someone that would come on loan? Or would you have him as a Sounder?) “We haven’t gotten to that. We just want to take a look first, but most likely he’d come and we’d have him.”

(Is there more interest in him than the typical trialist? Did you seek him out?) “No, it’s from an agent who I’m friends with. He said, ‘Hey, you should take a look at this guy. He’s played for Ireland. Take a look,’ and we brought him over. He was willing and the club willing to let him come on trial as well.”

(Both Sheridan and Samuel appear to be offensive minded, does finding a forward remain a priority for you?) “For me scouting, forward is always a priority for a team. You’re always looking for someone who can score goals. I think it’s something we always look at, and I think we’ll have some other guys come in who we’re going to look at as well. But to have him come in and get a goal in his first game, it’s good for him too. Hopefully he settles in and gets a chance with the first team guys as well.”

(What can you tell us about Myron Samuel?) “He’s a young player from St. Vincent. Ezra discovered him and he’s kind of looked after him a little bit while he’s here. He’s young and skillful and he has good energy. His technique is pretty good. He’s looked good in the training sessions we’ve had with the reserves and some of the young players. It’d be good to see him a little bit in the game.”

(How does the process on making discovery claims work?) “We have a list that’s changing all the time. You put a guy in on your discovery list and you find out right away whether someone else has him on their discovery list. It’s something we always have to be on top of because with a player we want to bring in, we want to make sure he’s on our list. A lot of times agents will come and we won’t be the only team they’re calling. Even this agent called Vancouver to take a look at Sheridan. So it happens like that quite a bit where you’re looking at other discoveries from other teams, too.”

(Does it mean that these guys are on your list?) “Yeah, when a trialist comes in and we’re looking at him, we’ve put him on our list. If you make a decision it’s not going to work, you take him off and put someone else on. Sometimes you have guys on there who are just placeholders, until you change and put a guy you’re serious about.”

(On looking for youth up front, and maybe experience in the back?) “Youth is always good for a guy who has something to prove. Sometimes it’s good to bring in a guy and give him a second chance, like O’Brian White. He needed a new environment, came in, he’s young and had something to prove. That’s always good. You look at our center backs, we have some pretty good center backs that other teams in the league are interested in, and they’re performing well. Sometimes having players who can play out of the back with the style of play that the Sounders play is important too. I think we have a pretty solid back four, and I think Kasey does a good job organizing them. But you need to have that kind of balance. You need to have some young and experienced guys playing next to each other. At least in my experience of winning in this league, you need to have a balance.”

SIGI SCHMID, head coach

(On Alonso’s developing offensive game…) “I think he’s making better decisions with the ball. He’s seeing the field more than he did at the early part when he played with us in his first year. I think he’s definitely seeing the field more. He’s more aware of the ball that he can switch. He’s still working on his repertoire of passes. It’s like clubs in a golf bag — you have to have all the clubs that are there. Sometimes for certain passes, especially the way the game has changed over the years in soccer, the outside backs and defensive midfielders get more touches and see more of the ball. So sometimes more of the playmaking comes from those players than it used to come from. It used to be where the inside guys or the attacking midfielders were the playmakers, now it’s different people. But it’s been good. He’s learning, he’s improving and he’s in that little bit of an experimental stage right now — where he’s experimenting with, ‘OK, did this work? Did that work?’ It continues to grow.”

(Now that he’s jogging and such, do you have a better idea of how far away O’Brian White is from coming back?) “I really don’t know how far out he is. What we’re trying to do is uptrain him this week. He’s definitely ready. He’s been jogging now a little bit, so we really want to push him on the elliptical and on the bike, so it’s more like a preseason bike workout for him. Before it just a bike workout to get your fitness up a little bit. Now it’s going to be more of a preseason bike workout, really pushing on your legs and things like that. Just got to build that up again. As I said, I think that’s for the rest of this week, and then we’ll evaluate at the end of the week and we’ll see where we can advance from there. The main this is what we do with him we don’t want to do things with him where he’s limping. Once he gets running, once he starts working with the ball, I want him to have his natural gait. That’s why we’re trying to push him now inside, so when he comes back outside and starts working with the ball, he’s got his natural gait.”

(But this shouldn’t be a season-ending issue…) “It shouldn’t be season-ending. It’s definitely something that we’ve got to see about, whether there are any repercussions or fallback in terms of the blood and make sure there’s not a new clot forming. But right now his feeling is fine, everything’s fine in that direction. That’s just something that we’re going to have to monitor, but it’s definitely not a season-ending injury.”

(How about for Zakuani? Do we have a better idea if he’s out for the year?) “It’s the same thing. His is obviously going to be longer than O’Brian’s, but it’s like once you move from one phase to another it’s like how fast can you go? You’ve got to plateau a little bit, then you climb, then you plateau again. It really depends. I don’t think anybody would have said two weeks ago that he would be already basically going on one crutch and walking around his apartment with no crutches. So that’s gone a lot faster than he’s expected it. He’s gone through something like this before with the moped accident, and he said his ankle, his movement has come back much faster than it did from that one.”

(How has the Reserve League affected your ability to evaluate talent?) It definitely helps. It keeps guys sharp. If a guy’s not in the first team it keeps you sharp, and then when you’re like a Lamar Neagle and you get an opportunity and you get on the field with the first team, you’re not rusty because you haven’t had playing time or you haven’t gotten out there. Especially our reserve games, because they take on a very game-like atmosphere with the fans, with people walking on and introductions and the whole thing. It’s not like you’re just walking out to the practice field and there’s a guy walking his dog and they blow the whistle and you play. So all that helps, because as a player then you feel like you’re in a game. And so it makes sure the guys aren’t rusty. It gives guys opportunities to play. We can see people. We can experiment with people, so we can see a Roger Levesque play right back — see if that’s a possibility down the line. There’s a lot of thing we can do out of it.”

(You have a couple guys here on trial. Is that just natural for this time of year or is there more urgency now in trying to get help?) “In the summer obviously one of the things we try and do is look at college kids. Just like we looked at Carrasco last year when he came up here. So there’s a chance, and that’s what Kurt does: he sort of identifies college kids that we might want to have a look at in the summer period of time. And you never stop looking from players. You’re always looking at trialists and people that become available. Obviously the summer window is coming up and we’re still looking to improve ourselves.”


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