Follow us:

Sounders FC

Daily coverage of Seattle Sounders FC, MLS and world soccer.

September 27, 2012 at 2:51 PM

Coach Sigi Schmid on friendlies, Marcus Hahnemann, the Whitecaps, and more

schmid mug.jpgHere are some highlights from Sounders FC coach Sigi Schmid in group interviews the past couple days:

* * *

(With next year’s season-ticket package not including a friendly, would you just as soon not have a friendly — particularly in another year with a CCL quarterfinal?) “I just play games when the club tells me to play games. If they tell me we’re having an exhibition, then we’ll play the exhibition. I think the players enjoy it. The one year we had three and that was probably too many, but I think big games are certainly something that they enjoy doing. In my years here, the club and the business decisions that they’ve made have been far more right than wrong, so I’ll respect what they do.”

(On several league games this year out-drawing the Chelsea friendly…) “I think it shows where our franchise is at, where our fan base is at, and where the rivalries are at, as well. That’s something that’s good. It’s something good for MLS and it’s good for our team. I’m hoping with the game with Portland that we sell the place out. That’s what we’re trying to accomplish and that’ll be something very, very, very unique and special. It would be the first time for an MLS game. In the past years and the old years in MLS, you’d look for big crowd numbers and you’d say, ‘Who played the international friendly before the game?’ And that was their big crowd. Now you say, ‘No, this is for this game.’ That’s something, again, that makes us unique and we take a lot of pride in.”

(On Marcus Hahnemann’s progress since joining the team and if he’s becoming a lineup consideration…) “He’s still working on his fitness and so forth. For him right now, there are good days and bad days. There are days where the body feels great and days where the body feels sore. He’s right now in preseason, so you have to let him get three weeks under his belt, at least, and then you can start looking at things.”

(Is there a certain confidence the team gets when it’s all full strength?) “When you see all your teammates out there and everybody’s out there competing, it raises the level of competition at training. Players definitely realize, ‘Wait a second. I have to work a little bit harder to be either in the 11 or on the 18.’ But it’s also good to have all our possibilities at our disposal. To be able to have Eddie Johnson up front presents a different dynamic, although Sammy (Ochoa has) played very well. To have Mauro (Rosales’) creativity on the flank takes a little bit of the burden off of (Christian) Tiffert, as well. So that just makes us overall a more well-rounded team, a more dangerous team.”

(What’s been going on in Vancouver the past few months?) “It’s tough to tell. Obviously they made some changes at the time of the transfer window, just like we did. Their changes haven’t worked out as well for them as I’m sure they would’ve liked. It’s a team, though, that’s in a position to make the playoffs and they want to maintain that. They’ve come a long way from last year. Martin Rennie’s had to rebuild that group and he’s done a good job rebuilding it. They continue to tinker with it and build it and try to make it into more of what they want and what they see. It’s a long season. You go through streaks in the season and they’re in a streak right now that they probably want to get out of as soon as possible, but they’re definitely a much-improved team from last year and a dangerous team because they’re fighting their playoff lives right now.”

(What did you do defensively in the second game against them that you didn’t do in the first?) “I think we did a better job of cutting off service to their speed guys up front. … We contained Darren Mattocks’ speed. But it doesn’t matter how fast he is, if he doesn’t get service, then his speed is less of an issue. (Dane) Richards is not going to play against us because of yellow cards, but you have Mattocks and you have Camilo up front. Kenny Miller has decent speed. You’ve got guys up front with decent speed, so you have to make sure you cut the service, and you have to also make sure that if you can’t cut the service that you’re honest back there defensively. I think we tried at times to play a little bit of offsides in Vancouver and that gave us some issues, as well.”

(On defending Mattocks…) “His speed presents problems to you because he’s … one of the fastest guys in the league. The thing is his willingness to make runs in behind a defense is always there. The timing is sometimes off, but the timing sometimes is very good. It’s sort of like the thing is, OK, if he makes a run, a couple things happen. If the ball is there on time, maybe he gets (called) offside. If the ball is there on time and he’s offside, maybe the referee doesn’t call it and he’s in. And if the ball’s there on time and the run’s on time, he’s in as well. Two of those three things are obviously very dangerous, so you can’t rely on the referee and you’ve got to make sure you have an awareness of when he’s going and his timing and how much space is behind. It takes awareness from your goalkeeper; he’s got to read it and be off the line. It puts pressure on your defense, because a lot of times guys are checking back, looking to hold the ball and bring others into play. It changes your offense because it becomes a little more hit-and-miss. It becomes either we’re in or the other team has the ball. But that’s the way they feel comfortable playing right now and he’s a player who definitely presents that threat.”

(You’re playing for playoff seeding, but they’re playing for their playoff lives. Might they be more motivated?) “Well, we’ve got the Cascadia Cup. We know these next two games are for the Cup. We want that to stay with our fans; we think that’s where it belongs, and so we want to make sure it stays there. For us as well, we still have the goal of trying to finish in second place and that’s still our goal and that’s still where we want to finish.”


No personal attacks or insults, no hate speech, no profanity. Please keep the conversation civil and help us moderate this thread by reporting any abuse. See our Commenting FAQ.

The opinions expressed in reader comments are those of the author only, and do not reflect the opinions of The Seattle Times.

The Seattle Times

The door is closed, but it's not locked.

Take a minute to subscribe and continue to enjoy The Seattle Times for as little as 99 cents a week.

Subscription options ►

Already a subscriber?

We've got good news for you. Unlimited content access is included with most subscriptions.

Subscriber login ►
The Seattle Times

To keep reading, you need a subscription upgrade.

We hope you have enjoyed your complimentary access. For unlimited access, please upgrade your digital subscription.

Call customer service at 1.800.542.0820 for assistance with your upgrade or questions about your subscriber status.

The Seattle Times

To keep reading, you need a subscription.

We hope you have enjoyed your complimentary access. Subscribe now for unlimited access!

Subscription options ►

Already a subscriber?

We've got good news for you. Unlimited content access is included with most subscriptions.

Activate Subscriber Account ►