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September 14, 2012 at 12:28 PM

Coach Sigi Schmid on injuries, the roster freeze, referee Ricardo Salazar and more

schmid mug.jpgHere are some final thoughts from Sounders FC coach Sigi Schmid after Friday’s practice before the big rivalry game in Portland this weekend:

* * *

(How’s the feeling on the final day before the game?) “It’s good. I think our team’s ready. I don’t think it’s a big thing to (fire) the team up two-, three days before the game or the day before the game. They know what it’s about. They’re professionals. They know what this rivalry means. We’ll talk a little more about it tonight at the team meal and we’ll be ready to go. We weren’t happy with our last performance in Portland. We need to set that right, and the only way to set that right is by going out and performing well.”

(Any clarity on the availability of Christian Tiffert or Mauro Rosales?) “Closer. Both of them were better today. So it’s something that we’re still thinking about. The group knows, and we’ll make those final decisions tonight or, like I’ve said, possibly tomorrow morning.”

(Might something still occur with the roster before the freeze?) “You never know. … I had a headache with all the discussions we were having and the different permutations: ‘This could happen. If this happens, that could happen. If this happens, that could happen.’ So there are different things that we’re looking at. There might be something, but until it’s signed, done, I never assume anything. Might be something, might be nothing.”

(Move or no move, you’re still confident in this squad?) “Yeah. I’m very confident with the roster that we have. I think the additions we made in the window with Tiffert and Mario Martinez were two very important and solid additions that made us a stronger team with more options. That should obviously bear some fruit and carry some weight when we go into the Honduras game on Wednesday. We have enough here to win it. It all comes down to our approach, our attitude.”

(What is distinctive about this squad in that regard?) “I think it’s a little more mature than it was last year. I think we’ve always played a better second half than we’ve played a first half. I think losing the Open Cup final and losing it the way we lost — in our minds, it was a little bit taken away — having that pain be a little more recent than a year ago, I think helps us as well in terms of our motivation going into this final stage.”

(What did you make of the Ricardo Salazar ref assignment?) “It’s interesting that he also refereed our last game in Portland. The assignment situation is interesting. I don’t know you would end up with the same referee in the same venue twice in a row. But it is what it is and we hope we had a better game than he did in Kansas City.”

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