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November 2, 2013 at 2:17 PM

Q&A: Schmid on football lines, leadership, personnel and more going into Timbers series

Photo credit: John Lok, The Seattle Times

Photo credit: John Lok, The Seattle Times

We were only afforded a quick couple days to preview this big playoff series, meaning a lot of quotes from Sounders FC coach Sigi Schmid weren’t quite covered.

Here are his thoughts on a number of topics, from football lines on the field, to why Brad Evans is wearing the captain’s armband, to Mauro Rosales’ role going forward and more:

*     *     *

(On starting out at home or on the road…) “Doesn’t matter. You’re going to play one at home and one on the road. There’s always a feeling that, ‘Oh, if you get the second game at home, that’s the advantage.’ I’m not always sure that is the advantage. It all depends.”

(On if goals will be at a premium…) “I think both teams respect each other, so they play each other very tough from a defensive standpoint. They’ve done a good job offensively getting forward. They also get nine guys behind the ball oftentimes, so they make it tough to break them down and get through. Possession is going to be important in this series, as it is in every series. Possession in the right parts of the field is important. But goals are going to be, and should be, as well, in the playoffs, hard to come by.”

(On getting Shalrie Joseph back so soon…) “He’s a funny one when it comes to recovery. He takes like baby steps and then he takes huge leaps, so he’s in his huge leap stage. That’s why we put him in the 18. We felt with his experience, he could be a good alternative at the end of the game depending on what we needed. He’s been able to get through training and do well, and that’s important.”

(On if we’d rather not play an archrival in the playoffs…) “I think it’s good. I think it’s good for the league. Obviously people are going to tune in and see a huge crowd on Saturday, and they’re going to see a great event. This is what the playoffs should be, so having it be a rival is great. I think it’s great for the league and it’s great for soccer in this country. I’ve been in soccer for a long time in this country, so anytime good things happen like that, I look at it as a positive.”

(On Mauro Rosales’ place in the team going forward…) “Well, I thought Mauro was fantastic (on Wednesday). I know he didn’t play a minute, but what he contributed to the team before the game, at halftime, after the game, from the bench, he was engaged, he was involved, he was with the guys, he was talking to guys at halftime, he was helpful, he was what he is — captain of our team — even though he didn’t get on the field. That’s fantastic for the younger players to see. For us right now, the way we’re playing and so forth, he can play. He can still play in the diamond midfield. He can play at the point of the diamond where Dempsey’s playing. He can play on the right-hand side of that. He can play as one of the two forwards, which is where we brought him in the game against L.A. There are still a lot of options for him that way.”

(On Brad Evans wearing the armband the past few games…) “I’ve let them decide. I’m not a big one on being a coach who says, ‘OK, I’m going to determine who the captain is.’ I want the players to kind of decide that. I think the one game Ozzie was going to wear the armband and then they decided amongst themselves that they were going to have Evans wear it, and Evans has worn it the last few games. As I’ve said before, you need a lot of captains on the field; you don’t need just one. I think it was good. It was good to see them determine that and take that responsibility themselves. As to why it happened, I didn’t ask. As long as they’re happy with it, I’m happy with it.”

(On if Marcus Hahnemann brings some of that leadership…) “Brings leadership, a little bit of size in goal, brings that, as well. He’s another one who’s there for the team. He’s completely engaged in the game and so forth. I think because he’s so engaged in the game, he got put into a difficult situation, coming in, not really being able to warm up, but mentally he’s in the game while the game’s going on, so mentally he was in tune. He’s not sitting on the bench with his feet up relaxing. He’s out there, he’s kicking every ball with the team, and that made it easier to come in. That’s leadership that we except from him.”

(On if Clint Dempsey needed to score before he earned that kind of leadership role…) “No, I think everybody knows he’s a good player and everybody respects him in terms of what he does. He’s got a goal and he’s got an assist now in the last two games, so those are important benchmarks for him to get both of those things going. What I was happy with is we found him with the ball; the game flowed through him. I thought he made some good decisions. The pass he made to Lamar in the first half, the little one-touch that put Lamar in I thought was fantastic. As we know each other better and better, the guys will read that better and we’ll finish those opportunities. You get more assists, you get more goals, but guys have always respected what he’s done and what he’s accomplished and what he brings to the game right now, and that’s what determines leadership.”

(On another quick turnaround…) “This game on Saturday for us is a big mind-over-matter game. It’s our third game in seven days, it’s their second, but at the end of the day, we’re in a rhythm of playing, too, so we’re happy about that.”

(On having more playoff experience than the Timbers…) “I think experience is a helpful thing, but they’ve got guys in their team who’ve got experience. Obviously Will Johnson has been to the playoffs a number of times. Donovan Ricketts has been to the playoffs a number of times. Valeri’s been involved in big games in Argentina. You’ve got Ryan Johnson; he’s been to the playoffs before. Not trying to go through their whole team, but Harrington’s been in the playoffs before. Jewsbury’s been there before. There are a lot of guys who have been there before. Maybe not as the Portland Timbers, but they’ve been there.”

(On if the football lines and markings will have an effect…) “I mean obviously you’d always prefer not to (have them), because it’s better for TV and everything else. I think the sport has come a long way in this country. That used to be the common sight when you looked at broadcast. For sure it was the common sight back in the old NASL days. It’s become an uncommon sight. … The organizations have always been very good about trying to avoid the football lines whenever possible. If it would’ve been avoidable, they would’ve done it. Unfortunately it’s not. We want our guys to take a look at it before the game, just so they have a feel for it, and it is what it is. It should be easy for the referee to figure out 10 yards, though, which will be a big help. He doesn’t have to use that stupid spray can. He should be able to just figure out 10 yards — hopefully.”

(On having the USMNT players step up recently…) “Everybody has got to come out and perform and play, and having them score goals is great. Other guys are working to help set those up. It was a good overlap by Leo, a good ball by Eddie. We expect those guys to come through and we expect everybody to come through in these key moments. For me, it was a result of good play. I think the play on those goals was quality possession, good attacking play and we just got to continue to do that and finish those chances when we get them.”

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