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November 7, 2013 at 11:38 AM

Some final thoughts from the Sounders before Thursday’s series finale against Portland

Photo credit: Dean Rutz, The Seattle Times

Photo credit: Dean Rutz, The Seattle Times

Here is a collection of Sounders quotes from the week of practice leading into Thursday’s second leg of a Western Conference semifinal series against rival Portland…

*     *     *

“Any time you have an opportunity to be remembered … you don’t want to take it for granted. I’ve played in derby games in Europe, and being back here in America, and playing for the Seattle Sounders and playing against Portland, we know how important these games are. This game can make you a fan favorite or it can not make you not a fan favorite. The whole buildup, the whole expectations and how much it means to our fans, we really want to go there and give our fans something to feel good about on their journey back to Seattle after the game.” — Forward Eddie Johnson on the legacy attached to Thursday’s game.

“Emotions are good. You have the fans cheering for you or the fans against you. That’s great. Imagine a game you play in an empty stadium or something like this. It’s (not as) fun as a packed stadium. That’s for sure. It doesn’t matter if fans are for you or against you, a full stadium is a full stadium.” — Goalkeeper Michael Gspurning on heading into a hostile environment.

“Ever since Public Enemy No. 1 Roger Levesque is gone, somebody’s got to try and take over that role. It’s good for the sport and it’s good for banter. Whatever I can do to light that fire on both sides… most important is being able to put yourself out there and being able to take it and put it on your shoulders and kind of own it, which I have no problem with. Nothing affects me like that, I’d be more than happy to play the villain, hopefully the spoiler.” — Midfielder Brad Evans on talking over a lightning rod role in the rivalry.

“We know we need a goal. I don’t care if we get that goal in the first five minutes or in the last five. At the end of the day we need to win the game. You have a plan going into every game, and we’ll have our plan, but then games always take on a life of their own. There are a lot of coaches who after the game will say, ‘It played out exactly as I expected it to.’ A lot of that is bull, because it didn’t. It’s easy to say afterwards, ‘Yeah, that’s how I wanted it to play out.'” — Coach Sigi Schmid on the team’s approach to the comeback.

“They welcome the challenge. They’ve upped their game. They want to make sure they’re the guy in goal, whether it’s Marcus, whether it’s Mike. They’ve upped their game each and every day and they’re preparing like, ‘Look, I want to make sure I’m the guy. The training has actually been very competitive.” — Goalkeeper coach Tom Dutra on the position battle.

“I was just trying to stay positive. I had conversations throughout the year with Sigi and a lot of the players. They know it’s been frustrating for me. It’s been a battle for me to get back to where I am now. For me, it’s just trying to get fit and trying to stay sharp and make sure I’m ready if they call on me Thursday.” — Midfielder Shalrie Joseph on if he wondered if he’d be able to contribute again this season due to a lingering calf injury.

“We had a team meeting (Monday), and it was just the guys who played this past weekend. We had a little powwow and just said if we want to take this to the next level and really put ourselves in our best chance to win, we’ve got to impose our game. Eddie’s got to use his strengths, Clint’s got to use his strengths, I’ve got to use mine, and it’s got to be all-out for 90 minutes. But that goes for everybody. … We’ve gone far too long without getting to that next, next level.” — Evans on the leaders taking over.

“This is what it’s about — playing in the playoffs. If you can’t get up for these games, then you shouldn’t be playing. It’s an opportunity to go down there and try to do something special. If we’re able to get the right result, it will keep us alive. That’s what we plan on doing.” — Clint Dempsey on what’s at stake.

“I’m the beast.” — Johnson, interrupting a question on how soccer relates to the Seahawks being able to feed the best in Marshawn Lynch.


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