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November 10, 2012 at 3:45 PM

Coach Sigi Schmid on discipline for Marc Burch, injury updates, Mario Martinez, playoff scheduling and more

schmid mug.jpgSome fellow Sounders FC reporters were kind enough to pass along audio and quotes from a conference call Saturday with coach Sigi Schmid (something I missed in transit to Los Angeles).

Here is the transcript with material on potential discipline for Marc Burch, some injury updates, another evaluation of Mario Martinez, some thoughts on the playoff format, and other notes:

* * *

(How are you doing personnel-wise, particularly with Marc Burch’s availability?) “First off with Marc Burch, we haven’t heard (from the league), so we don’t know what the situation is going to be there, the resolution of that. In terms of the health situation, I think guys are getting better. Rosales is certainly better. We’re still maybe holding out some hope there, but we know now that we’re in the first game of two with him, so we’re going to be a little more cautious because we think by next weekend he should be fully ready to go.”

(Is discipline for Burch solely resting with the league or will there be some internal discipline, as well?) “Right now, we’re waiting to see what the league says. I think Marc issued a statement yesterday. What he did by doing that I think deserves a lot of respect and recognition from everybody, because it would have been very easy to not say anything, but he felt it was very important to come forward about it. He felt that he had made an error and he wanted to express it that way, and I think it’s very commendable for him to do that, because I don’t think that would have been the case with everyone. So now we’re waiting to see what they say and then we’ll make our own decisions as we go forward. But I know for him it’s been a very difficult time.”

(How is Leo Gonzalez doing?) “Leo is making progress, but it’s the same as sort of Mauro. Our hope is a little more for the second game rather than the first.”

(Did you feel this was a breakout performance by Mario Martinez?) “I think Mario’s a good player. I think Mario’s game time with us really has been predicated a little bit on the little training time he’s had with us. We knew when we signed him that there would be obligations with the commitment he has to the Honduran national team, and we wanted him to stay in the flow for that team. He really didn’t have a lot of consecutive days of training with us, really hasn’t been in a lot of games or seen how playing in our league is different. I know guys (KC’s Roger) Espinoza have talked to him about that. But he showed what he can do. He’s a wonderful striker of the ball. He’s a good passer, he’s clever, and he has the ability to come up with those types of goals, and score a few goals. He’s shown that at the Olympics, and he’s shown that obviously in the World Cup qualifiers. Can you say it’s a breakout? No, I think it’s a reflection of the quality he has. We’re very happy that we have him on the team, and obviously that was a great option to come with on that game.”

(Might that have led to more playing time for him?) “It’s sort of a wait-and-see. We want to make sure that the mix is right. We thought that the mix was right with him coming on, and we’ve got to evaluate guys today. We just got back yesterday and obviously that was a pretty physical game, so guys have a few knocks. We’ve got to see how guys feel and what we think L.A. is going to bring, and that’s going to determine how we sort of put our formation together. But certainly Mario’s confidence was helped immensely with that goal and the team has confidence with him, as well, when they see that kind of thing happen. He’s a guy who’s going to play a pivotal role for us as we go forward for sure.”

(Does the playoff format hurt LA having to play so many games in so few days?) “I don’t know. They’re a pretty deep team. They spread minutes amongst their big guys. I think with the LA Galaxy, you’re looking at a team that’s a really veteran team. You look at their last game with San Jose, and you look at the way that Robbie Keane really stepped up his game — I think more so than anybody. Landon was good, for sure, and Beckham had some moments, as well, but to me in that game Robbie Keane stepped up and said, ‘Get on my back. I’ll carry you over the line.’ And he did that. So when you have players like that, with that much international experience and that kind of veteran savvy, (regarding) the additional game, they know how to manage those situations. They sort of pick and choose, maybe, the moments on when to run or when to make your movements and then make them a lot more impactful. That comes with experience. I’m not worried about them playing the extra game right now. We’re playing our third game in basically eight days and I think they’re playing their fourth game in 10. Early on in the game they’re going to come at us, for sure, because that’s just the way (coach Bruce Arena) is and that’s the way they’ll be. I think they’ll tire a bit in the second half, and hopefully that will come to our advantage.”

(How’d you think Eddie Johnson fared Thursday? Did you think he looked tentative?) “He came through OK. He had no issues or complaints. We’ll evaluate him further today and see how he feels. Coming back, sometimes you’re a little tentative about that in terms of making those runs and so forth, but I thought he did well, and obviously he had the respect of their back four, and that helps us.”

(Does having just two days rest help LA?) “There are so many ways you can look at it. You can rationalize it either way. Obviously if we could have played on Wednesday, that might have been better than playing on Thursday when you look at it — the way the games sort of backed up, and just because of the problem of trying to book airline reservations and flights since we’re not a league that goes charter all the time. We’re a league that goes commercial; that makes it more difficult. It might have been easier to go straight from Salt Lake to L.A. if we had known all this, but we couldn’t get flights from Salt Lake to L.A., so we have to do it this way. There’s time where you could say, ‘OK, that would give an advantage to an L.A. because it’s been a lot more hectic for us to travel and they’ve been settled down.’ They got back home after their game on Wednesday. I think they chartered to San Jose, so they chartered back probably Wednesday night after the game. They’ve been sleeping in their own beds. They’re settled. But then on the other hand, sometimes when things are hectic, it’s just like you get on a roll and you keep rolling forward and you keep going. You sort of just (say), ‘Hey, just another day, and let’s get it done and let’s move on,’ and sometimes that’s not the worst thing either. I’ve been involved with teams both ways, and I think the most important thing is just to not overly focus on it. Take what comes at you and digest it. Move it and turn it into a positive.”

(How will the turnaround affect lineup decisions?) “It might determine a couple of personnel decisions, in terms of who we play or start just because of the turnaround … It might determine that part of it, but overall it’s not going to have a major impact on our decision.”

(What’d you think of Christian Tiffert’s first playoff game?) “I watched the replay a number of times and still don’t know how he got cut. Him just standing there watching the blood flow down his face, and it didn’t seem he got bothered too much by that. For him, the playoffs are a new experience. It’s something that he hasn’t gone through in his time of playing soccer in Germany, so that’s a whole new thing for him. We asked him to play a new position on Thursday night than he had played the (last) Friday by moving out wide right. He’s a good pro for our team. Whether we ask him to play in the middle of midfield, wide right, wide left or underneath the forward, he’s going to always give you his best effort in whatever position we ask him to play.”


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