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May 6, 2013 at 3:40 PM

Sigi Schmid on red cards, injuries, Sporting KC, the transfer window and curses

schmid mug 2013Sounders FC coach Sigi Schmid held a conference call with reporters Monday from Kansas City. The interview covered an array of topics, and here is a full transcript:

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(On playing at Kansas City for the first time since the U.S. Open Cup final…) “Obviously it was a disappointing night for us that night. Anytime you play away from home in a game like that, a big game like that, with good opposition and a home crowd, it’s a tough event. But we put ourselves in a position to win that game. We got ourselves into penalty kicks. We thought we had the upper hand. We were disappointed in some of the calls that were made that night, so it was disappointing not to come away with the victory. But when you look at the game, we thought we had enough pieces of the game and we were very competitive. So we feel we can certainly play with K.C.”

(What did you make of the red cards Saturday?) “The first red-card incident involved Sheanon Williams and Lamar. I thought it was very difficult for Lamar because I thought Sheanon was the aggressor in that situation. I think Lamar reacted defensively at first, and a lot of people, when a guy goes face to face with you, it’s tough. If you turn away and you hit him a little bit, he could go down and make it seem like you head-butted him or something. And Lamar pushed his face away, so when other people look at that, then they think Lamar is the aggressor there. At the end of the day, because they couldn’t make a decision, they made the decision that usually gets made, which is to throw both of them out. Yedlin was late in the tackle. I don’t think he came from behind. I think it was more from the side, but he was late on the tackle and the referee decided to (give him) a red card. There were other tackles that I think were as severe in the game, but they either didn’t connect or players jumped out of the way of them. I don’t think we can argue them or complain or say we got jobbed or anything like that; it’s just going to happen in the game. But I don’t think it was a situation of us losing control either. I think DeAndre’s a young player who needs control his emotions in that situation, and that’s something that he’s going to learn.”

(Any players joining you in Kansas City that weren’t available in Philadelphia?) “Alonso and his wife had their baby daughter, so we congratulate the family. Obviously he should available for us on Wednesday night. So that helps us going into it. Marc Burch is out here, as well, for us, so we’ll see if he’s ready to go or not. Those are the two main guys right now.”

(Not Obafemi Martins?) “Probably not at this stage. We want to get Martins to a stage when he returns, he’s able to return and stay. We don’t want to push him out there for a game and then lose him again for two or three and then push him out there for a game and lose him for two or three. I want to get him out there and keep him out there.”

(On overcoming K.C.’s possession…) “We’re just going to try and hold onto the ball. In the first half of the Chivas game, I think their pass completion rate was 60 percent, so it jumped up quite a bit when they were playing against 10 guys. They did a good job possessing the ball with a man up. Obviously they’ve got some skillful guys in midfield who can hold onto it, and they get their outside backs involved and try to hold onto the ball that way. But it’s important for us to keep the ball, as well, and create opportunities. I think we did that better against Philly, but we’ve got to curtail the opportunities that we give the opponent.”

(Do you feel cursed when it comes to all the injuries you’ve had this season?) “When we played (Philadelphia), I think that was the fourth game in the row they played with that same starting lineup. I would love to be in that position, where I could put the same starting lineup out there. Even when you look at a team like K.C., who made some changes in the Chivas game — it’s uncertain because they had nobody on the injury report, so I imagine they were just resting players — to be in a position where you can rest players and keep them back for another game. They’ve been able to start a pretty consistent back line … and a lot of time the midfield trio has been pretty consistent, as well, so getting to that point would be nice. Do I feel we’re cursed? I think it’s more difficult this season. We’ve got to continue to play away and continue to be patient. As I told the team, our last four games we haven’t lost. We’ve won one and tied three, included the Santos game, and three of those four have been on the road. When you look at it like that, I think we’re starting to catch ourselves. We’re starting to get a better balance of players on the field in terms of work rate, being able to hold onto the ball, skills, etc. But it’s tough when you’re playing next to a new partner every game and you’re starting to understand when this guy wants the ball and the next game you’re playing with someone else who wants the ball differently. Cursed? Maybe not. But definitely difficult for sure.”

(Is Mauro Rosales starting to show you more of what you’ve wanted to see?) “Mauro worked very hard on his fitness in the week break that we had, and I think that helped him. I think he obviously served up a good corner and had an assist there, and he scored a good goal by getting in at the far side. So from the production side of it, that was very, very good. I think he helped us. I also think in the second half of the Philly game, if you watch that game, Philly really played without a left back in the second half. They brought on Gabriel Farfan and moved him over to that side. They let Michael Farfan come inside and let Gabriel play the whole line and play it as a winger. That’s something where when a team does that, we need to take even more advantage of the space we get on the right-hand side. So we probably didn’t get the ball to Mauro enough in that half and allow him to exploit that space behind Garbail Farfan a little bit more. But overall I thought Mauro’s game was definitely much closer to what we expect from Mauro every time he’s out there, and I thought it was his best game of the season.”

(What hasn’t Mario Martinez been showing you to see more time?) “Mario has been bogged down a little bit with a groin injury that’s kept him from going full-out for a period of time. He was able to participate in like 70-percent in practice, but couldn’t get through sometimes the whole practice. So we’ve given him a little bit of time with that. As we talked to him today, Mario needs to be what he was for us in preseason, where he was very aggressive with the ball, where he was willing to go at the defense and carry the ball forward. If he bogs down and starts playing and squaring back in midfield all the time, it’s tough for us to be able to combine forward. We want him to combine, but we want him to combine about 20 yards further up the field then he was doing at times in games. But I think he’s somebody who’s a very talented player. We haven’t lost faith and confidence in him, and we’re looking forward to him being 100 percent. Right now he’s indicated that he feels good right now, so that’s important, and when his opportunity comes taking full advantage of it.”
(Any advantage to getting a extra day’s rest with K.C. playing Sunday?) “As I said, in their game on Sunday, they ended up resting a lot of players. Benny Feilhaber didn’t start for them; he normally starts. Sapong didn’t play very many minutes. Besler wasn’t even on the bench. Chance Myers didn’t play. So when you start adding it up, there were quite a few pieces of their puzzle that didn’t play all that much. The other side of it, too, is they ended up playing against 10 men for basically 40 minutes — and they were up 3-0 by 65 minutes or so — so it made the game a little bit easier for them. I don’t think they expended the same amount of energy that they would’ve expended over a normal 90-minute game. So that makes the advantage a little bit less. But they’re at home. They’re sleeping in their own beds. They’ve got both games at home. We’ve been on the road, and there’s always an advantage to being at home, so whatever we gain by the 24 hours, I think the other two things kind of equal it out. So I think the two teams are going onto the field pretty equal.”

(On the team’s young midfielders…) “Caskey’s played a lot of minutes for us this year. I don’t know how it compares to the minutes that he played early in the season last year. He played some significant minutes for us last year. I don’t think Alex’s best game was against Philly. I think he knows that, as well. We talked about it. It’s just a matter of us just being good with the ball, being very consistent with the ball, creating opportunities. Alex Caskey is a kid who has a great shot, so he needs to figure out a way every game to make sure he gets one or two shots from 20-25 yards, because he hits the ball well. The others guys, I thought Servando played well in Philly for his first start and his first game in a while. Andy Rose has had a little bit of a sophomore slump, but he’s starting to catch himself and playing better, as well. Brad has played a little bit all over for us in midfield. So there are bodies there and bodies who have contributed at different times, but for us the main issue is that we can’t seem to get them in the same position from one week to another.”

(Do you think you’ll make any moves by the close of the transfer window Monday night?) “Don’t think so. If we did, I think we’d have a much better idea than today. So no, I don’t think we’re doing anything.”

(Do you think you’ll be in a position for a summer move?) “We’re always looking at those possibilities and those options. That’s something we talk about almost daily — if not, for sure weekly, but it almost seems daily — so we’re always looking at ways to make ourselves better, to make our club better.”

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