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July 4, 2011 at 12:20 AM

Sounders FC quote sheet: Schmid, Wahl, Parke, Noonan

Seattle Sounders FC Logo.jpgHere are some quotes from the week in anticipation of Sounders FC’s match-up on Monday against the Los Angeles Galaxy…

* * *

SIGI SCHMID, head coach

(On Supporters’ Shield race…) “Not really thinking about that, just thinking about getting into the playoffs and making sure we make it into the playoffs – that’s the most important thing for us at this stage. We want to continue to play good soccer. It was a difficult 10 days. We had a lot of games in that 10-day stretch but to come out with four wins is something I’m very happy with on this team and at times I thought we played some very good soccer.”

(On past results vs. L.A. Galaxy…) “The guys know what the results have been against L.A. We haven’t had good results lately and it’s another proving ground for us to go in there. They are a team that plays with a little bit of a swagger, they have some confidence. I think we are starting to get some of that and we just need to go in there and we got to play well.”

(On facing third-string goalkeeper Brian Perk…) “Obviously we want to make him make decisions in the game, make him work. The only way we can do that is by playing well and getting the ball up the field. I’m sure they’re going to be very motivated and concentrated on defense to make his job as easy as possible. If it is Brian Perk, which (it probably will be), he’s going to be highly motivated. It’ll be his first start in MLS, unless he had a start last year in Philly. He’s comfortable in southern California. He’s a UCLA guy. He’s from Mission Viejo. I’m sure he’s anxious and he’ll have a lot of family there.”

(Who would be your emergency goalkeeper if needed?) “Probably Roger Levesque if he would’ve been out on the field. He’s played about everywhere else. Might as well put him in the goal.”

(On this being a big game even despite early Sounders FC injuries…) “Obviously having lost Steve Zakuani and O’Brian White at the same time meant we had to work harder, meant opportunities for other players. Like I have always said, it says Sounders on all of our uniforms and that means guys have to be capable of playing and that’s why they are here. Different guys have stepped up. I’m happy where we are at right now. I’m proud of what the team has accomplished. They should be proud of what they have accomplished. And the thing is we just can’t be complacent. We have to work and not say, ‘Oh, it looks like O’Brian White is coming back. We can relax now.’ Or, ‘It looks like maybe Steve Zakuani will be back so we can relax now.’ No, we have got to play with that same sort of hunger as we have been.”

(On match-up with L.A. Galaxy becoming a rivalry…) “It’s a rivalry that’s greatly in their favor right now. Obviously because we played them in the playoffs last year that adds to that rivalry a little bit. Right now it’s a one-sided thing, especially over the last five games. First year we did well with them, we tied and we beat them and since then we haven’t done as well. This is a good measure for our team and we are excited for the game on Monday.”

(On being in perhaps the best form in a while…) “It’s been good. We have had to throw different people out there because of the injuries and suspensions and the like and the amount of game that we were given in a short period of time. The guys have responded really well and we got to continue to do that.”

(What do you need to do to be better against L.A.?) “Obviously we’ve got to do a better job of possessing the ball and possessing the ball in their end of the field. We seem to have gotten chances in our games against them, sometimes early chances that we didn’t capitalize on, so we need to capitalize on those chances. They’ve scored some unbelievable goals against us: Juninho’s goal this year, you look at Buddle’s goal in the playoffs. They’ve scored some pretty good quality goals against us, but it’s on our shoulders to do a better job possessing the ball and do a better job of finishing our opportunities.”

(Is the game going to be any different without Beckham and Ricketts?) “It’s the same. It’s the same for them as it is for us. We’re missing guys as well. We don’t have Zakuani. We don’t have White. It’s like I always say, they have good players, good reserve players. They have guys who are professionals, as do we. The guys who are the on the field are the ones that are going to decide the fate that evening.”

(Is preparation any different knowing their guys will be out?) “No. We want to work on things that we feel that we wanted to work on. It’s not like we’re going into it saying, ‘Oh, this is the Galaxy, so let’s shift everything we do in training.’ No. We work on what we want to work on to continue to get better as a team – to improve our ball movement, to improve our defending – and that’s what we worked on.”

(When things are going well, do you try not to tinker with too much? How does it affect a coaching approach?) “Sometimes you can work harder when things are going well because guys are a little more receptive, because there’s a positive energy floating around and so forth. You’ve got to put your arm around them a little more if it’s not going well. When it’s going well, you can push a little bit; you can get them to keep working because they’ve had success. Everybody – human beings as individuals – we’d much rather do extra work on our strengths than do extra work on our weaknesses. So that’s a positive.”

(On playing on holidays…) “I was coach of the Galaxy, so we always played on the Fourth, and at the Rose Bowl there was an immense fireworks show. Now since I’ve been here we’ve always played on July 4th. It was only in my time in Columbus when we didn’t play on July 4th; it seemed like we always had a game on the 2nd or the 3rd. As a soccer coach, I guess over the years you get used to missing holidays. Thanksgiving ended up being ODP camp, so you had to scout when you were a college coach, so that takes care of that holiday. Labor Day you’re usually playing a soccer game with your college or pro team, so that takes care of that holiday. Memorial Day you’re usually playing, so that takes care of that holiday. Christmas usually works out fairly well. New Year’s you’re getting ready to leave for the combine, so you can celebrate for about a half an hour and then you move on. It’s something you just get used to. It’s part of the schedule. It’s great for the fans. It’s great with fireworks and it draws a lot of attention. There are a lot of games on ESPN2 this weekend. I think that’s good for the sport.”

TYSON WAHL, defender

(On struggled against the Galaxy…) “I think it’s a mentality thing. We weren’t tough enough in the playoffs last year. We definitely want to turn that around starting Monday, so we’re excited.”

(On L.A. strengths…) “They’re very well organized, especially in the back. You definitely have to look out for Donovan. His movement off the ball makes it pretty tough to mark up. We have to make sure we’re communicating because he’s all over the field.”

(On recent form…) “A lot of times there’s (midseason lull based upon) my experience in MLS. We’ve kind of had the opposite to the start of this summer. We’re hoping to keep that going through the summer months and into the playoffs.”

(On winning MLS Goal of the Week…) “I haven’t actually seen it because I’ve been training, but I’m glad to hear I got it. A couple of firsts: first goal, first Goal of the Week. Definitely a little bit surprising, but it’s exciting. Kind of like with the team success, with my success and that goal, I’d like to keep that going.”

(Are you a threat to score now?) “I guess. I set the standard pretty high with the first one. I better get out on the field and work on them more.”

JEFF PARKE, defender

(Is the team getting kind of tired of L.A.’s good run against you?) “Yeah, for sure. They’re a tough team, but I feel like we’ve had some unlucky breaks. I think we’re working better and working harder now. Maybe the tide has changed and some of that momentum will go our way. Still it’s a good team and you got to get after them right away.”

(You missed the last trip to L.A., what do you remember about watching the season-ending loss?) “It was huge. It’s the end of the season and you want to play. The Home Depot Center is like the Madison Square Garden of MLS. It’s the stadium that got it all started and where everyone wanted to play back in the day. I wanted to be there. It was harder to watch on TV and see the season end on a bad note.”

(What do you remember about your match-ups with Donovan?) “I’ve been against him a lot. The first couple years were weird, where every time we played them he was either on duty with the national team or resting. I went two years without playing him. He’s a handful and arguably the best player in the league. He could be having a bad game, but at any moment, up to the 90th minute, he can turn on the jets and make something happen.”

PAT NOONAN, forward/midfielder

(On opening-season loss to Galaxy…) “It seems like a couple seasons ago. So much changed throughout the course of the season. That’s the first game of the year; we didn’t come out and have a very good start, obviously, and the result wasn’t a good one. Through having guys like Mauro step in there and you have Neagle, who’s gotten some minutes — just a lot of different faces that have come in. When you get that camaraderie out on the field, it helps. Early on, I think that was missing a little bit — you could tell. We’ve progressed. We’re starting to win games and with wins comes confidence. Obviously we need that going into L.A. against a very talented and veteran team. We look forward to it.”

(On recent form…) “I think we’re finding ways to win, whereas before we didn’t have the killer instinct when we had the lead. When we had opportunities to put teams away we weren’t doing it. Now we’re doing that. Even in spells where our possession isn’t great, we’re finishing our chances.”

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