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August 30, 2011 at 2:03 PM

Sounders FC quote sheet: Schmid, Parke, Fucito, Keller

Seattle Sounders FC Logo.jpgHere is some material from Sounders FC camp this week leading into tonight’s U.S. Open Cup semifinal against FC Dallas.

Kickoff is 7 p.m. at Starfire Stadium in Tukwila. There is no live TV/radio coverage, but Arlo White will have the call on a live webstream on SoundersFC.com and I’ll be hosting a live chat during the match.

* * *

SIGI SCHMID, head coach

(On the upcoming U.S. Open Cup semifinal match against FC Dallas…) “It’s an important game for us because we’ve always taken the Open Cup seriously. Obviously Dallas takes it seriously as well because Lamar Hunt was their original owner and the Hunt family still owns the team. I think it’s a game of massive importance but we want to accomplish something that no MLS team has done by winning three in a row. We’ve already got something with two in a row, but anytime we can make an achievement that sets us apart it’s important to our club.”

(On playing Dallas twice in 10 days…) “It seems always when we run into Cup opponents it seems we play them in league fairly recently prior to a Cup game. Obviously that’s going to add something to the game. We’ve both been on a very hectic schedule. There’s probably in the past week has been a little more hectic than ours because of the situation in Toronto. But you’re looking at two teams that have played a lot of games in the last three weeks so it might be a battle of attrition at the end of the day.”

(On George John being available after his transfer fell through…) “I can’t comment on as to what happened there because you don’t know if it’s from Blackburn’s side or from his side. But obviously if he’s back, he’s back, and we’ll deal with it. If he’s not back then we’ll deal with that as well, but I’m sure for them in the short term for this season, having him back is a big thing for them. But I don’t know how it fits in George’s career plans.”

(Do you consider to busy schedule before the match or the big break after the match when selecting your gameday roster?) “It’s the busy schedule leading into it because you can’t say, ‘Oh OK, well you’re going to get five days off so even though you are really, really tired, because you are going to get five days off well, all of a sudden you have a shot of adrenaline.’ I don’t think that necessarily happens. But we also know – we have talked to the team about – this is a stretch of games we have to get through, this is the last of the work days so whatever you need to do to maintain your focus. I think sometimes mentally you want to get a break in and reminding the guys that there is no break until Wednesday. Mentally we have got to stay focused, stay sharp and keep our attention to the task at hand.”

(On possibility of hosting the U.S. Open Cup final…) “I think that should serve as motivation. I think all the players know the feeling from last year was a tremendous event. Our fans turned out obviously in great numbers for that game and I think it was a great celebration. I think knowing how that felt should be motivation going into this game.”

(On keys for Seattle…) “It’s the last game in a long stretch of games for us. We want to make sure we maintain our focus going into this last game. The U.S. Open Cup is something we take very seriously and we want to continue to do that. We know we have an opportunity to host the final if we win the semifinal, but we got to take care of this first.”

(On the team’s depth…) “I’ve been very happy with the depth of our team. We always felt if we were 100-percent healthy we could go 17, 18, 19 players and not take away from our ability to perform. I think the last four to five games have shown that. It’s good to have Evans back in to the mix, Kennedy’s back, Ianni has been out injured, but outside of that mostly everybody is in the mix, so you got different people showing up on different days. Flaco scoring a key goal when we go down to Monterrey, Neagle getting three when we come back home, Rosales constantly contributing — it’s been very good.”

(On the strategy to roster selection…) “Trying to keep certain guys fresh. We know certain guys recover better after games than other guys do, so we look a little bit at the matchups with the upcoming teams and the recovery ability of the player. We try to make our decisions based on that.”

(On the familiarity with Dallas…) “It probably adds another level of intensity for sure in the game because teams don’t like losing to each other, so they’re going to be motivated. Just as we were when we went into Dallas because we lost the last game to them, now they lost the last game to us, so there’s going to be a little bit of extra motivation there. It makes it easier to put together videotape, because you can go to your game with them instead of having to look at how they did against certain opponents. You can see how they did against you, but at this stage, it’s the third time we’re meeting this season so I think the teams have a good idea of each other.”

(On Dallas’ weapons…) “They’re a hard team to keep off the board offensively. Obviously Brek Shea has been on a tremendous run this season and his national team call-ups are well warranted. They’re a team that’s also pretty good on set pieces because of Brek and George John and also Ihemelu, so they offer those things. They’ve got great speed, so you got to make sure you’re in good position and can deal with their speed. It’s a matter of making sure they can’t get out at you on a counterattack and making sure that their speed doesn’t break you down and making sure you get tight to people at the right parts of the field.”

JEFF PARKE, defender

(On the Open Cup…) “It’s a big thing for us. Hopefully if we can win we can have (the final) here again. We had two titles in a row so we want to keep going. You can see the importance in the way we play and the way we put out our groups when we have our games. Other teams don’t take it as seriously. They’ll put in their reserves in games and stuff like that, so it shows that they really don’t care about the tournament. For us, it’s important and you want to get as much silverware as you can. At the end of the day you look back on the history on a club and it’s the silverware and the championships — those are the things that tell you that you’ve built a good club. History is everything.”

(On playing at Starfire..) “It’s pretty cool. It’s different because it’s a small venue and the fans are right on top of you. The field’s a little bit small, but it makes the game a little more entertaining, a little more action. For us, it makes it feel like you’re in a high-school night game or a college night game. It brings you back. It’s great to have the fans that close, with everyone screaming and hollering up close.”

(Aren’t you supposed to struggle in a busy stretch?) “Most would say that, but it’s been a good run for us. Fortunately we’ve had some good results. We’ve battled hard and gotten the results we’ve needed, but Tuesday night’s game is probably the most important so far in this stretch.”

(Why?) “It’s one and out in the Open Cup. Other games, league games, you could hopefully rebound from it the next weekend, but here it’s you lose, you’re done. Then you look back and say, ‘What happened? I wish we were still in the tournament.’ We’re going to go out there and do our best.”

(On knowing what Dallas might be doing?) “Yeah, but they’re doing some traveling and have a lot of games, too. It’s good to not have to go too deep in the film and go look up different teams and stuff like that and players. They’re a good team, they’re a good side, they’ll put out their best and it’s going to be an entertaining game.”

MIKE FUCITO, forward

(On the Open Cup…) “This will be going for No. 3. I don’t know if any other MLS team has done that. It’s a big game against a Western Conference rival, an important one. We want to get the final. If we get the final then it’s going to be at CenturyLink, that’ll be great.”

(On the importance of the tournament…) “Oh yeah, it’s an Open Cup. It just shows how much depth we have and it’s another trophy. We want as many trophies as we can get. It’s very important.”

(On Dallas…) “They’re a tough team. They’ve got some dangerous players, some speed. The last two times we’ve played them it’s been 1-0 for each side. This will be a good match. We know each other well, and we’ve both had a pretty busy schedule so it’ll be a pretty even matchup.”

KASEY KELLER, goalkeeper

(On the Open Cup…) “We’ve won it the last two years, we’re back in the semifinals, we know we’ll host the final if we get through this game — I think it’s pretty cool. It’s always a fun atmosphere to play at Starfire. It’s sold-out all the time. It’s going to be rocking and we just hope to keep the run going. It’s my last season and I’d love to play in another final.”

(Does last win over Dallas help?) “I don’t know. I think our confidence is pretty high right now in general. I’m always that little, quiet pessimist that’s always a little bit worried of overconfidence. When you beat somebody does that give that other team some extra motivation for when they play you next time? I just want us to come out with a great attitude. I’m not sure what the lineups are going to be. I’m sure there will be a couple changes from the other day. We’ve obviously been successful being able to make some changes recently and I’m excited about the team that’s going to be out there that we can continue this great run at Starfire.”

(On already knowing you’ll host the final…) “A lot of times in this competition it’d be a home-and-away (series) in a lot of other countries. Even for MLS Cup, I just don’t think we’re quite ready yet to have that kind of neutral site that everyone’s going to fly to. I still believe that the MLS Cup should be that as well. The team that has the best record going into the final should have the right to host it. I think that would make more sense. With the Open Cup it’s a great opportunity for us. With last year and the attendances we had, I would assume we’d have similar or better and I think it’s a great showpiece for soccer in America.”

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