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May 28, 2013 at 4:42 PM

Sigi Schmid talks the Tampa Bay Rowdies (old and new) as the Open Cup resumes

schmid mug 2013Sounders FC coach Sigi Schmid held a conference call with local reporters Tuesday. Topics covered: Seattle’s third-round opponent in the Tampa Bay Rowdies, players that made the trip to Florida and some who didn’t, Tampa’s soccer history and more.

Here is a full transcript:

*     *     *

(How was the travel to Florida and did any players come and/or go?) “We traveled from L.A. to here. We couldn’t get a flight from L.A. to Tampa, so our travel was one where we flew from L.A. to Orlando, and then we had to bus two hours from Orlando to Tampa. We were joined by some players that came in from Seattle. Their flight got delayed, so that delayed us another hour out of Orlando, so it was a long day. I don’t think we got in until 8 o’ clock at night to the hotel. We sent some guys back home. We sent Djimi Traore, Mauro Rosales and Leo Gonzalez home from L.A., and then we were joined by other players here.”

(Do you have any concerns of a hangover from Sunday’s loss or do you feel the team is able to move past it?) “It’s what we have to do. It’s our job — our job as a coaching staff and our job as players. … You have to get on to the next play within a game and you have to get on to the next game after the game. I spent my day yesterday watching Tampa and getting ready for Tampa. The players spent their time taking care of themselves physically, getting some sleep, (recovering) as much as they could and getting ready for the next one. I don’t think anybody was happy with the last performance. If you want to make it a one-off, you have to step up on the field and play well tomorrow.”

(What can you tell us about Tampa Bay?) “Well, they’re a good team. Obviously they won the championship last year in the NASL. Perry Van der Beck, the GM, has been around for a while. I know him from the days when he played for the Rowdies in the old NASL. They’ve got a good Bulgarian forward Georgi Hristov, who has scored a few goals for them. I think he had two goals in their last game, as well. Luke Mulholland on the right wing, an English player for them, I think he leads the league in assists right now with about four. He’s gotten a few goals for them, as well. Obviously you have Zach Scott’s brother. Everybody is pretty much aware of that. They’ve got a lot of solid players. They’ve built a really solid team here. The field is small; it’s only 105 by 70 (yards). It’s a little bit bumpy, so it’s going to be (important) for guys to concentrate on their first touch on the ball. We were doing practice today and someone tried to swing a cross in, and it took a little bit of a jump when it hit what would have been home plate, and it popped over his foot. It’ll be an interesting game from that standpoint, as well.”

(Was Zach Scott’s connection to the team helped in preparation?) “I don’t think Daniel, Zach’s brother, has loose lips, so I don’t think he’s given Zach a lot of information. We sort of asked Zach, and he goes, ‘I really don’t know. He hasn’t said anything.’ I’m sure Zach hasn’t said anything to him then as a result, either. From that standpoint, there are no insights we have into them at this point.”

(In the past, some MLS teams have fielded halfhearted lineups, but is there any added excitement for a matchup against a top second-division team?) “All cup games have been exciting for us, because we’ve always said to the team that when we enter something, we want to try and win it. Our lineup choices tomorrow are more a reflection of who we think needs some rest, some injury concerns that we have with some people, and obviously some guys being gone with the national team. Certainly we know Tampa is a quality opponent. They’re defending champion of the second division. They’re going to be at home. They’re going to be highly motivated. They maybe got caught looking ahead in their game on Saturday and ended up losing. Maybe they were looking ahead to this game, but they’re going to be highly motivated. For our guys, it’s also a great opportunity, because there are going to be some guys on the field who haven’t gotten a lot of playing time recently. So it’s a chance for them to show in a meaningful competition and a meaningful game that they’re somebody that wants to be back into that mix in the 18, especially with the upcoming weeks and guys missing with national teams.”

(With suspensions to Ianni and Alonso, and Joseph being out for Saturday, how does that complicate your lineup choices?) “It definitely made it a little more complicated. This would’ve been a good game for Ianni to play as he continues to try and get game fit and come back. Him losing this game is definitely a detriment in his quest to try and get back on the field. So that hurts. Shalrie being out on Saturday, and Evans missing as well, affects our choices in the middle of midfield and what are options are in there. Carrasco obviously a couple weeks ago had to play three games in a week. He’s probably going to be taxed with that again. It definitely puts an onus on us because we’ve gotten hit in the same area of the field, so it makes it a little harder to adjust.”

(What players joined you from Seattle?) “Guys who joined us from Seattle were Remick, Zavaleta, Ochoa and Rose.”

(Any memories with the Rowdies going back to their earlier years?) “I wish I was a little bit of a younger man at the time — I was, probably — but Tampa Bay obviously has a great history. You had players like Rodney Marsh, who was nicknamed The Crown Prince and a guy who would show up in all-white suits or lime-green suits on game days. Clyde Best was certainly a robust, quality forward in the league at the time. Winston DuBose played goalkeeper for them and was a friend of mine. I saw him a couple years ago and I thought he almost broke my shoulder when he clapped me on the back. Another old Rowdie connection is Perry Van der Beck, an American player who played here and got a lot of minutes. The Wegerle brothers were both here. Roy Wegerle was here and coached with the U.S. national team. There’s a lot of history here and there’s a lot of quality soccer that was played here. They had some great crowds. At the beginning of MLS, when Tampa Bay had a team, everybody was hoping that that Rowdie magic would come back, and it just didn’t catch hold for some reason. Maybe down the line in the future it will again because, just like Seattle, I think there’s a great history there. If they can tap into that and use everything that’s new, it might be a great franchise in the future.”

(This game appears most comparable to when you played Portland as a lower-division team in the Open Cup, so do you have to warn about potentially looking ahead to a game against the Timbers?) “We just go from game to game. I know where you’re drawing the similarity, but nothing compares to going to Portland, even when they were a second-division team. There’s no way of comparing it. But certainly it’s comparable from the standpoint of it’s a quality division-two team, and we haven’t had to go on the road necessarily to face a quality division-two team. We’ve had to go on the road to face some MLS teams in the competition, but maybe the crowd is not considered raucous — although certainly Kezar last year was a pretty emotional affair. I think we’ve been in emotional games before. We haven’t been in this situation before where the hotel is across the street from the stadium. We’re actually going to walk to the stadium instead of busing over. It would be a nice comedy routine for the bus to pick us up at the hotel, make a U-turn and then drop us off. We’ve been thinking about that, just doing it to film it, so that part of it is definitely a little bit different. We’ve been in meaningful games in this competition, and yeah, this is going to be a little bit different, but I feel like we’re ready for it.”

(You’ve met David Moyes a few times before. Any signs then that there were greater things to come as he’s set to take over at Manchester United?) “I’ve known David for a while. Actually I had taken the Crew over there to train. Everton had come over to play us, and I had taken the Crew over there to train, I want to say it was 2007. I think I took them over there at Everton and we played Everton’s group, and we got together with David again. And obviously he’s come to Seattle and trained there. I always really liked him, always had a lot of respect for him. He puts his heart and soul into it. He’s very detailed in his approach to the team. He takes a very hands-on approach, which might be a little bit different than want Sir Alex did when he was at Manchester United. When you get older, you sort of sometimes let your assistants do a little bit more. I also have a very good connection to David as an old fitness coach from the Crew has been his fitness coach for the last three years, so we talk all the time. I think it’s a great honor that he’s taking over. It was something that I know had been rumored about early, and I think he’s a person who’s going to do a good job. Will success follow? You can never say for sure, but I know he’ll give his heart and soul to it.”

(How does the staff handle players been in several different places at once?) “You have to plan it out. We have to be effective about what we do. We’re having discussions right now because Shalrie is with us here, and he’s available for this game, so the question is now, ‘Do you fly Shalrie back to L.A., keep him with the group and train in L.A.? Do you fly him to Seattle and have him work there?’ Those are little logistical (things), and there are also fitness issues that we talk about: ‘What’s the best way to get the optimum work of them that we need to get at that particular time?’ So for us, and definitely for (team administer Grant Clark), it’s a lot of time on the phone and a lot of time making decisions, and figuring out the whole thing logistically. We sent Dave Tenney home with the group that went back to Seattle so he could work with that group. We brought in Chad, who is his assistant here to work with this group. It’s a very fluid operation. Every day sometimes we make a different decision depending on what you need or something that crops up, but it’s part of the business. It’s what you prepare for. We have to be able to adjust. I think that’s a motto that soccer players and soccer coaches have because you have to adjust on the field all the time because of the changing dynamics of the game, and you have to be able to adjust off the field to the changing dynamics going on, as well.”

| More in Stop and chats

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