Several local reporters weren’t able to make the trip to Rio Tinto Stadium over the weekend, so a lot of Sounders FC coach Sigi Schmid’s interview Monday was a look back at Seattle’s 2-0 road loss against Real Salt Lake.
Yet another loss to in a big road game against a Western Conference final led to a fair amount of consternation within the fan base from what I’ve seen. One national website placed the lion’s share of blame on Schmid.
Here is a transcript of the questions from Monday’s regarding the defeat:
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(On Saturday’s 2-0 road loss…) “I watched the game twice yesterday and I don’t think it was a shellacking by any stretch of the imagination. I thought our sharpness in the final third — our final passes — wasn’t as good or with the quality that it needed to be. But overall, up until then, I thought it was OK.”
(When you look back on it, do you kick yourself over anything or do you feel like you’d play it the same?) “No, I mean Lamar (Neagle) got hurt about 10 minutes into the game. He went into a tackle with (Ned) Grabavoy and felt his hip flexor a little bit. We don’t think it’s extreme. He tried to play through it in the first half, tried to come out in the second half and we pulled him out early, so he wasn’t really sharp. I think it was just a matter of, again, the coordination of (Obafemi Martins and Eddie Johnson) in relation to each other, because they hadn’t played together in a while. Could you have done something different? You always look at things and say, ‘Could I have done this differently or that differently?’ and maybe that would’ve changed things, but overall I thought the three of the them place-changed fairly well. I didn’t think (Kyle) Beckerman was much of a factor at all in the first half until he scored the goal. … We didn’t have any shots. I’m not taking anything from that. We didn’t have any shots. We didn’t create anything near their goal. We got close a couple of times, where Leo (Gonzalez) hits the ball too hard for Eddie or else Eddie is in. Oba leads Neagle too far or else he’s in. Neagle one time has Oba and misses him by five yards or else he’s in. So you had those kinds of opportunities. But at the end of the day, they didn’t have anything clean either in the first half other than the goal. It was one of those. We have to learn our lessons and we have to be better on set pieces, for sure.”
(Did the national team guys have enough time getting back into the group?) “International games, on one hand they’re more tactical. But on the other hand they’re also slower, so there’s more emphasis on possession. There is less dynamic running off the ball sometimes and when you get back into league play there’s a little more of that, so the running you have to do up front is different than the running you do out wide. Maybe not enough time to integrate back.”
(Do you still feel confident in having Neagle, Martins and Johnson starting together?) “Yeah, I think we can get all three of them on the field and be successful.”
(What have been some of the breakdowns in defending set pieces?) “The goal that Beckerman scores, if you give him that shot 10 times, I don’t think he puts it in the net 10 times, for sure. It’s probably a very small percentage. But take nothing from it, he hit it well and it’s right under the crossbar. There was somebody who didn’t do their assignment on that one. We needed one more player back, so we just have to make sure that people understand what their assignments are on that and make sure they do them. It means we’ll train them a little bit more conscientiously. … You can have all your matchups rights and everything else, like (Alvaro) Saborio’s header that just goes wide. He out-jumps Djimi (Traore). There’s nothing you can do differently on the chalkboard at the end of the day. It comes down to a duel between one payer and another. But you have to make sure people have their assignment. You have to make sure we get people back and we understand the time of the game that set pieces occur. You maybe defend it a little bit differently in the 15th minute rather than the 44th minute.”
(So regardless of score, did you feel better about this game than the previous 2-1 loss at Real Salt Lake?) “Yeah, I mean generally when we play Salt Lake, usually possession is in the high 50 percent for them, maybe in the low 60s, because they’re the kind of team where it’s their emphasis. This game I think it was like 52-48 or something like that, so I think our ability to hold the ball was much better. I don’t think they really possessed the ball a lot. The last 20 to 25 minutes I think they certainly dominated the game and had more of the game, but that’s the point where we’re down 2-0 — we’re starting to take some risks, we’re starting to push people forward, we made some changes. I mean (Mauro) Rosales needs to get more touches than he got in the 70 minutes he played, and we need to do a better job of sustaining pressure in the attacking end of the field.”
(How did you feel about taking two shots?) “It wasn’t good enough. We have to be able to sustain pressure and maintain possession in the attacking third of the field. We have to have people play and move off the ball at that stage, and then there’s got to be quality of passing. So that was a positive for us, that the quality was good for the first two-thirds of the field, and then for some reason the last third of the field it was more hit than miss, and we need to do a better job of that.”
(How good of an indicator is shots when you look at control of the game?) “It’s not always an indicator. It’s about creating chances. I remember having a team and we got outshot every game, and we finished something like 18-1-2. But if we had six shots, we’d get three goals. The other team would have 18 and get no goals. It depends. If guys are hitting shots like their shots in the first half, of their eight shots, I think Beckerman’s shot was inside the box and there might’ve been one other shot … or none. All the others were 20 yards or so out, that’s not going to bother us and that’s not going to hurt us unless a guy is getting a really open look. … I think there was one good open look that we left somebody with and that was it. So to take shots that are just hopeful or just to pad the stats doesn’t make any sense. But on the same token, two shots isn’t enough and we needed to sustain pressure and create chances and do better there.”
(How do you get Rosales the ball more?) “The team needs to find him and he needs to find the ball. It’s a combination of both things. We need to do a better job of finding him and we’ve got to make sure he gets in positions where we can find him. Again, I sound like a broken record, our ability to maintain possession in the final third of the field would have got him more touches.”