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February 15, 2012 at 2:23 PM

Schmid on forwards, Hope Solo, red cards, captains, Sivebaek, goalkeepers and more

schmid mug.jpgSounders FC coach Sigi Schmid held a teleconference with reporters this afternoon and, as per usual, addressed a number of various topics. Here’s the transcript of that conversation:

* * *

(Have you settled on a second forward alongside Fredy Montero?) “So far, (Mike) Fucito’s played a lot of minutes there. Sammy Ochoa has played some minutes there. We’re looking at (David) Estrada there. I still think we have some weeks to decide that. Today even in the last 30 minutes, we played Christian Sivebaek up front. So we’re looking at different options.”

(Are you looking for a target forward still?) “We’re just looking for a forward that’s going to allow us to stretch the defense and so forth. I think there’s times where Mike has done that. We have enough talent that’s there — it’s just a matter of seeing who’s playing well and who’s on top of their game. Obviously if a good forward falls into our laps, and we find out about that, we’d certainly pursue it or take a look at it. But at this stage it’s a situation where O’Brian White is still not available to us, so we have to look at the people that are here.”

(What do you think about the signings of Hope Solo and Sydney Leroux? Does it affect you at all?) “I think it’s great for Seattle soccer and for women’s soccer in Seattle to have players of that renown, and certainly who played their collegiate ball there and are from the state like Hope is. That’s tremendous. I don’t know in full what their time commitment is going to be with the national team and so forth, and how much availability they’re going to have in terms of playing games for that team. It doesn’t affect us in the sense that it doesn’t do anything in regards to our preparation or change what we’re doing. The effect for us is just that it’s a positive effect for soccer in our city and from that standpoint, it has one.”

(At what point does training start to focus on Santos Laguna instead of general preparations for the season?) “It’s been a dual focus all the way along. The players have already seen some video tape on Santos Laguna where we were in Arizona. We’re editing stuff and putting it together right now. When the guys went to Brad Evans’ house for their meal when they were there in Arizona, they watched a Santos game — Santos was on against Pumas that day, so they watched that game. I know the guys are aware of it. We’ve already talked about some of their players to make them aware. Right now we’re concentrating on us, our fitness and our cohesion.”

(Any concern over the many red cards we’ve seen so far in preseason?) “I can’t really explain the game today. It’s been a long time since I’ve had a team get two red cards in a game, and I think they were really sort of silly. The referee was prepared to call a penalty at one point in the game, but the player was offside, and the penalty kick would’ve been for a guy who went into a diving header and the ball was maybe about a foot off the ground and our defender cleared it. So now, how does that become a penalty? Was our guy supposed to go for a diving header at that point, too? Or would you clear about that’s six inches to a foot off the ground? Generally, you’d kick it. There were some decisions made today that were interesting, let me put it that way. I don’t think it was a three red-card game.”

(This is the first in the series on five Wednesday games leading into the season opener. How did you approach it?) “The way we approached today was to maximize the minutes from the guys, so with the exception of obviously Kennedy, who got a red card and didn’t get the minutes as a result of that, and Fucito, who we pulled at (the 60-minute mark), everybody else we played 75 (minutes). We wanted to approach it that way in terms of minutes played. It’s also the first time that that group has played and we’ve had a halftime talk where we said, ‘Now go out there and let me see you do this, this and this.’ I was very pleased with the way we responded to the game in the second half, so that’s going to be something as well that’s reflective of the season. For us right now it’s a matter of building those minutes on the Wednesday-to-Wednesday routine. Tomorrow, that group that started, they’ll basically do a (regeneration) training and they won’t play against the (U.S.) under-17s, so we’re trying to get them into a weekly rhythm.”

(Anything to read into Mauro Rosales manning the coin toss before the game in regards to captaincy for the 2012 season?) “I mean Brad (Evans) took the coin flip in the game against Vancouver and Rosales took the coin flip in this game. I’m hoping we have more than one captain in the sense that I think we need a number of players to lead. I think Kasey (Keller) returning home to Seattle was a very unique situation and he was captain of our team. In my history with teams going all the way back to UCLA, the captain is important, but I guess I don’t approach the captaincy with the drum roll, the hoopla and the fanfare that some people (do). Hopefully our captain is the guy who goes for the coin flip and wears the armband but is part of a group of many leaders on the field. That’s what I’m looking for. I think Mauro is a guy who’s got to be considered in that group. I think Brad Evans is a guy who’s got to be considered in that group. I think Fredy Montero has got to be considered in that group. You’d expect Jeff Parke to be considered in that group. You’d expect Alonso to be considered and that’s basically down the middle of the team. Ultimately, I’m going to have to choose somebody to wear the armband, but I guess what I’m trying to say right now is I probably don’t stake as much significance on it as the outside public probably stakes on that decision.”

There was some feedback during this question and answer here that makes it impossible to transcribe with any confidence. The question regarded target forwards and Schmid said the role is mostly about occupying central defenders since Fredy Montero likes to drop off a little bit. Schmid said the other forward can do that by being a physical presence, but also with speed.

(Were you surprised that a coach, Fabio Capello, resigned over an issue over the team’s captaincy?) “I don’t know the details or all the merits of that particular situation with Capello and the English FA, but certainly as a coach what’s the most important thing for you is you want to have control of what’s going on within your team. If you as a coach deem that it’s important and this is an important battle for you to take a stand on, that I want to be able to name my captain and not have any interference in that decision, then you basically have drawn the line in the sand, and you have to make an appropriate decision once you draw that line. It’s really Capello’s decision whether he wants to draw the line in the sand in regards to that situation. So for me, I’ve been very happy in Seattle. I think when decisions have to be made and it relates to the players, the team and the lineup and so forth, I’ve been allowed to make those decisions, which I think is the appropriate way because at the end of the day, the coach is the one that’s going to get fired if he’s making the wrong decisions in that regard. So I think that’s what is more about than anything else.”

(Do you see Christian Sivebaek taking on a Roger Levesque role with some versatility?) “It was sort of a strange situation today because he had taken a bad tackle on the ankle a couple days before and he was complaining about it a lot yesterday. (He) didn’t even play in the soccer tennis tournament. Then today before the game he declared himself ready to go. My intention today was not to play him at all, but then with the referee impacting the game on the red cards he called, it changed our situation. We had to play some guys earlier and a few more minutes than we wanted to. At the end I relented and decided to play Christian. Then the decision was if we’re going to play him, we’ve already seen him play wide right, that’s where he’s played the majority of the time we’ve seen him and when we scouted him and when we played the other day, so let’s take a look at him at center forward and see how he does. I also want to see eventually how he does on the left-hand side and see what the options there are, because he played well the other day, I thought he played well today in his 25 minutes, so at the end of the day it becomes a situation of, ‘Is this a guy we need to get onto the field?’ If he has different positions he can play, it makes it a little bit easier to get him on the field.”

(Do you have a better idea what’s bothering Josh Ford?) “Yeah, it’s still a situation where he can’t train. They have a good idea of what it is. There might be one more test or one more thing they want to do, more so to rule other things out than it is to determine what it is. That’s a process that’s taking place right now. At this stage he’s probably out for a significant amount of time, and when I say significant amount of time, I’m probably talking at least four to six weeks. Probably by this Friday we would know more.”

(And any decisions regarding the goalkeeper depth chart?) “That’s obviously something we talked about today at lunch and we’re going to make that decision in a couple days. We need to have three goalkeepers and (Bryan) Meredith played the last half hour today. Andrew Weber will play tomorrow and those are the three goalkeepers. Chris Blais is here, but at this stage we consider the other two definitely ahead of him.”

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