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June 6, 2012 at 4:42 PM

Schmid on a four-day break, the CCL draw, injuries, Zakuani’s return, Euro ’12 and more

schmid mug.jpgThe Sounders will take the next four days off from training and it’s good timing for a deserved break since the team doesn’t have any games until June 16 in Montreal. And the rest will be needed, as a seven-game stretch in 22 days immediately follows. Reporters asked coach Sigi Schmid questions on a number of topics Wednesday afternoon and here are some highlights:

* * *

(What’s the attitude going into a four-day break?) “Just for everybody to get a little bit of rest physically, but also mentally. Just to get away for a while. Sort of like when you see your kids every day you don’t mind having a break once in a while, not seeing them for a day or two. But I’m sure everybody feels the same way. You’ve just got to get away. It’s a chance for everybody to recharge their batteries a little bit, get this break, because right after we come back from this break, we go straight into something like seven games in 22 days or something ridiculous thing again.”

(Was last night a good launching point for four days off?) “Definitely. I think the Open Cup came for us at a good time. Winning games always makes you feel better; scoring five goals in a game makes you feel even better. Hopefully we can take some of the offensive good things that have been happening for us into the regular league games, as well.”

(Have you had a chance to look at the CONCACAF Champions League draw?) “Yeah. I mean it’s incomplete because we don’t know who we’re going to get. I guess we get the winner of the Caribbean tournament, so obviously that impacts things. Marathon is a team we’ve played before. We’ve got to figure out the logistics of getting down there. It’s a little more pressure in this tournament because you have to finish first — it’s not first or second. There are less games so the points are more important for sure. Travel for us is always the biggest component. We’re coming from as far northwest, with the exception of Alaska, that you can come from the United States and going all the way down southeast if we have go down to Trinidad or Puerto Rico or Antigua. It’s about as far as you can go, as well. It’s not going to be a vacation. It would be nice if it was.”

(How can the four days off help get some guys back healthy?) “It just gives everybody a little bit more. Patrick Ianni has been doing more and more, so he’ll continue to do some things over these four days, but he’ll also get a couple of days off in there. We really pushed Mauro (Rosales) hard fitness-wise and he feels pretty good, so it’s good for him to back off now. He should come in to Monday’s training very fresh. (Adam) Johannson gets another four days with his hamstring. He’s said it’s coming along much faster than the last one. Michael Gspurning gets another four days. … It gives him four more days to build it up and start that process. It will help us. It will go a long way. Leo Gonzalez, same thing. Hopefully by the time we’re ready to leave for Montreal, we’re adding at least two or three guys into the mix.”

(Who do you think will be healthy by the Montreal game?) “We think maybe Ianni could be back. With him, it’s more a question of fitness because he loses fitness quickly and takes a long time to gain it. So we’ve got to work with him. Leo is somebody that could be back into the mix, as well. Certainly Rosales is someone that will be back in the mix because we held him out of the two Open Cup games. Those are three examples.”

(And Eddie Johnson?) “He should be back in the mix by then, as well.”

(Any chance of Steve Zakuani returning say for the Open Cup?) “Don’t know. Me and Steve talked about it, in fact just briefly here, but that’s a conversation that will stay between us. We talked about what we’re shooting for, but I think he’s making good progress. Playing that game really helped him confidence and also maybe re-motivated him, as well. Not that he wasn’t motivated, but it’s like all of a sudden, you know how it is, you’re doing something and you do something good and it feels good. It’s like, ‘Hey, I want to do that again.’ All of a sudden you’re confidence comes, your energy comes with that. And he’s sort of at that stage right now. We’ll push and we’ll see and we’ll continue to do what we’re doing — take it week by week.”

(What do you think of Germany’s chances in Euro ’12?) “Good. A couple problems for them simply because Mertesacker’s coming off an injury, hasn’t played a lot of minutes. Schweinsteiger is supposedly got a little bit of a calf injury. Klose is coming off an injury. A little bit of that. It depends on how much he relies on the Bayern Munich players versus the Dortmund players. And I do follow the Germans. The Dortmund players are a little bit fresher at this stage. I think Germany’s a quality team, but they’re in a tough group, and they’re opening game against Portugal is not going to be easy.”

(So who’s your pick?) “Germany. … What can I say? When I watch the Euros and Germany’s participating, and the United States is not involved, I watch it as a fan of Germany rather than as a coach trying to analyze what’s going on. I still watch games and you try and pick up trends and see what’s happening, but I’m definitely a fan. I definitely scream at the TV, holler at the coach for the substitution that he made — ‘Why’s he playing that guy?’ and all that.”

(In English or German?) “Often in German (laughs).”

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