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October 28, 2013 at 3:47 PM

Q&A: Coach Sigi Schmid on the playoffs, goalkeepers, injuries and more

schmid mugThe playoffs have arrived! With the Sounders, however, it seems more like a scramble than a celebration. The team has to turn around and play against Wednesday, a do-or-die play-in game against the Colorado Rapids.

Having played Sunday, Seattle’s starters didn’t participate in the on-field portion of practice to best recover in the short break.

Reporters spoke with coach Sigi Schmid after a training session involving reserves and recovering players like Mauro Rosales, Leo Gonzalez, Obafemi Martins, Shalrie Joseph and others.

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(Does it feel any different now that it’s a playoff week?) “I mean nine teams are done. We’re one of the 10 teams still playing. It’s an old mantra, saying you can’t win it unless you’re in the playoffs. We’re in the playoffs. We’re starting in the same position as L.A. last year and a similar position to Houston, and it’s just a matter of putting together a good streak of games.”

(Not being able to train with all the starters today as they recover, is that just a sign of how difficult this turnaround is?) “It is what it is. We know it’s going to be tough, but it’s tough for Colorado, as well. This is where you want to be. You’d rather be doing this, getting ready for a game on Wednesday, than cleaning out your locker.”

(Are you still weighing a decision on your starting goalkeeper?) “We’ll make a decision. I thought Michael (Gspurning) did well. I thought he came up with a couple of big saves — the one on (Landon) Donovan and the save that he made on Robbie Rogers — but we’re going to continue to work this week. He worked hard at training today. Marcus (Hahnemann) worked hard, as well. So it’s a competition.”

(Did you like what you saw in Gspurning?) “Yeah, I thought Michael came back and had a good game, like I said. Is he the goalkeeper who gave up nine goals in two games or is he the goalkeeper who’s averaged less than a goal a game for 40-plus games? I think we saw the goalkeeper who’s averaging less than a goal for 40-plus games.”

(What is the feeling playing a team that beat you badly last time?) “We’ve got a bad taste in our mouth from that last game, for sure. We have to make sure we get off a better start — the start last time was terrible — and be awake for corner kicks. We feel being at home is a plus for us. .. I thought we played some good soccer against L.A. on Sunday. I thought there were some good combinations. I looked at the game again last night and looked at the whole game. Looking at the overall play, I think the play was solid. If we can play in that same manner, I think things will take care of itself.”

(What does the new diamond formation in midfield help you do?) “It was just we’re looking for the right combination of where we can get Clint the ball and that he has options that he can play to, as well. So playing with two forwards and Clint in attacking midfield, everybody seemed a little more comfortable with that. I thought Moffat and Evans did a good job of being those other midfielders who tuck in. Ozzie did a good job playing deep. I thought we did a good job. We out-possessed L.A., but on top of that, I thought we created some good chances.”

(I know you don’t want to reveal your starting lineup…) “No.”

(But does a quick turnaround affect what you can do in terms of consistency?) “Right now, you’ve got to play. If you’re ready to play, you have to play. It’s the same thing for them. I think they’ve played the same back seven for a long time except for an injury or basically a suspension. I don’t see them making lineup changes and our guys have to be able to come out there and match that, as well.”

(How did some of the guys who you’ve been managing come through health-wise?) “We’ll see. Leo got through all of training today. Mauro did, as well. Oba did the majority of training. So we’ll see how all them are tomorrow.”


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