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March 8, 2014 at 11:22 PM

Sigi Schmid: ‘Wins like this are always great.’ (postgame quotes and stats)

Here are some postgame quotes (with some video interviews) and stats following Sounders FC’s season-opening 1-0 win against Sporting Kansas City. Here is a link to our game story, and a notebook on Sean Okoli, and I’ll also provide a link to our photo gallery below.

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Photo credit: John Lok, The Seattle Times (full gallery here)

Photo credit: John Lok, The Seattle Times (full gallery here)

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Sigi Schmid – Sounders FC Head Coach

(Opening Statement…) “Obviously I am happy we got the win. One of the things we talked about going into the season was we wanted to be a team that would fight, scratch, and do everything we could until the end of the game and today was a good snapshot of that. The guys continued to fight and battle. I am very pleased we got a shutout. Shutouts were a little harder to come by at the end of last year than they normally are for our team, so I was pleased with that. I was pleased we played them to zero and pleased we came out with the victory.”

(On Chad Barrett’s debut…) “It’s one of the reasons we brought him in. He is an experienced forward and he has shown he can score goals in this league. He ended up getting two shots in the limited minutes he played. Not just him, Clint (Dempsey), and Sean Okoli were all subs that came in and had an impact on the game for us. Chad’s one of those players who should know what to do in front of goal, and he was able to do it today.”

(On Sean Okoli’s debut…) “I thought Sean was good. I talked to Sean before he came and said, ‘Look, try to get behind their defense.’ I think he did that, got in behind, and on the goal he was involved in that initial buildup. as well. He has been improving all preseason. We knew he had some speed that could give Gardner some problems, that’s why I wanted him on the right. He’s gotten better each preseason game. He played as a forward at Wake Forest, so he’s learning a little more how to play wide. But you’re not old or young. You’re either a good player or a bad a player.”

(On Clint Dempsey’s performance…) “I thought he was alright. He hasn’t really trained with us, but I like that him and [Obafemi Martins] were definitely looking for each other, looking to combine with each other, and that is something that will continue to get better, as well.”

(On the importance of a season-opening win…) “I think it helps everybody. We had a number of guys out there. Dylan Remick, it was his first big test here at home. For Stefan Frei, it’s been a while since he’s been in goal, so it was a big test for him. For (Marco) Pappa, (Chad) Marshall, it was their first test out there in front of our crowd. I thought they held up very well. Wins like this are always great. It helps build momentum. It helps build confidence.”

(On the difference between this team from previous seasons, and if this team hasn’t always shown today’s fight until the end…) “We didn’t sometimes play intense enough, sometimes not direct enough, at the end of games. When you play a team like Kansas City, when you look at the number of fouls they committed, the other team steps up and puts pressure on the spaces behind the defense, and we didn’t really do a good job of exploiting that until the last 10 or 15 minutes of the second half. That’s something it took us a while to figure out, but we eventually figured out that is a way to get to them. That’s something that is different from teams in the past, maybe we didn’t figure that out.”

(On the emotional impact of the win…) “It sets a great tone. Whenever you have a dramatic victory like this, it pumps everybody up. You saw the players’ reactions on the field; you saw how thrilled they were. It’s just an indication of all the hard work they did during the game.”

(On another stoppage time game-winner vs. KC…) “It seems to happen for us a lot against them. It’s what Peter Vermes said to me after the game: ‘You guys do this to us every time.’ Again, it’s a reflection of how close the league is. These guys are the defending champions and they haven’t been able to beat us in a number of years. The game they did beat us in was in penalty kicks (in the Open Cup). The parity is very, very close, but it’s also very satisfying for us to win. We really didn’t talk about it in terms of before the game or anything like, ‘Hey, this is a team we’ve scored late goals against.'”

(On Stefan Frei’s performance…) “I thought it was good. I thought there were some mistakes; there was a little miscommunication once between him and Djimi (Traore) on a ball. I thought he did well in terms of challenging and cutting off some crosses. For his first game, there is going to be some nerves, for sure, but I thought he did well.”

(On Dylan Remick’s first MLS start…) “He did alright. I think he can play better. He would say that to you, as well. He knows he can play better than he played tonight. A little bit of nerves, a little bit of uncertainty, but that is something with more games it will go away.”

(On second half adjustments…) “I think we did a better job in the second half of keeping track of (Graham) Zusi. I thought in the first half Zusi slipped in behind our center midfielders a few times, and they did a better job of getting second balls. In the second half, I thought we did a better job of getting control of second balls in the midfield, especially. We had a better handle of where Zusi was, so when he got the ball he wasn’t as free to pick and choose his passes.”

(On replacement referee Alan Kelly…) “I thought he did well. I don’t have any complaints about how he handled his job. I think K.C. was happy about it, as well. I think they are just a team that commits something like 120 more fouls than we do in the season.”

(On using three subs up top…) “Our desire was to get fresh legs in. I thought (Martins) was doing alright, it was a little hard for him sometimes because he was a man on island out there, but by bringing on Dempsey, Barrett, Okoli we got fresh legs in the attacking position so we could maintain our pressure. With each guy, I told them to play in the space behind them and eventually that paid off for us.”

(On his immediate reaction to the goal…) “Instantaneous happiness, joy, and a few other words I can’t say.”

(On Marshall and Frei…) “I thought Chad did well. Obviously he is a guy that wins a lot of balls in the air for us. He had a little bit of an injury, so weren’t 100-percent sure he was going to play, but he played through that for us very well. I think Chad was solid. I think one of the things (Frei) brings to the game, as Chad does, is that they are very calming guys. They aren’t hyper guys, and as a result, it gives your team a calming effect that things are taken care of, which is good.”

Chad Barrett – Sounders FC Forward

(On adding to the history of late Sounders winners against Kansas City…) “I just heard all about it. Wow. That’s kind of cruel and unusual against K.C., but I really don’t care. I’m glad to be a part of that. We were fighting until the end. We really pushed in the last 10-15 minutes. I thought the guys came on — Clint did a great job, Sean did a great job providing the service we needed. We were pressing. Oba did a great job to win that first ball, took about out four guys out including the ‘keeper. Clint kept the ball alive, and it fell to me. I’ll take 10 of those a year.”

(What was it like playing here for the first time?) “I was excited just to be on the bench, man. Just in awe. The pregame festivities, and you see the crowd, see the supporters section yelling the whole game. It’s so loud, and then when I scored, I couldn’t even hear myself screaming. I’m pretty sure I was screaming, or I was going through puberty — one of the two. I couldn’t hear myself screaming. … That’s just an unbelievable feeling: all 40,000 standing until the end.”

(What were you thinking in that moment?) “Don’t think, just shoot. I put myself in front of the goal. Dempsey was unfortunate to miss the first time. The ball came right back to him. (Lawrence) Olum came back and he tried to not let Dempsey get a clean one on it, and right to me. I’m calling that one the ‘white guy’s bicycle kick.’”

(As a newcomer, how have you picked up on the urgency the club has to atone for last year’s disappointment and push for a title?) “I’m a newcomer on this team, but I’m not in this league. I’ve played on good teams and bad teams before, and this is a great team. We’re going to fight like that until the end every time, especially like that here at home. The Seahawks put a little pressure on us this year to win, so that’s what we plan on doing.

(What’d you think of the fans?) “I want to get on their good side as fast as possible. I had some bad crosses before that, but I think that’s all forgiven now.”

(What were you thinking when you came into the game?) “Whether there’s 15 minutes or 90 minutes, you have to go out there and you got to catch up with the game real quick. I thought I did that, and came in and was in the right spot when I needed to be.”

Brad Evans – Sounders FC Midfielder

(On team chemistry…) “Kansas City has very defined roles. Anytime you keep a group of 10 or 11 players, you win a championship, you don’t make any changes. You’re going to find yourself playing against a good team. Even if they’re playing with different players and a couple of guys who don’t play too regularly for them, they still know what’s going on at that position. For us, I think we’re a little bit different, especially going into the first game this year. I think we made a number of changes, style of play, formation is a little bit different than what we’ve done in the past. In saying that, I thought there were good points today — created a number of chances. … I think you’ll see our best soccer five, six, seven games down the road when everybody starts to jell and click.”

(On Okoli’s pro debut …) “He’s definitely surprised me. All the young guys have — Kovar, as well. I’ve seen these guys for the past four years when they’ve been training with us. Last year I called it, those were the two guys we we’re going to sign. You’ve seen it, they’ve both worked extremely hard this preseason, staying after practice, getting extra work in and making sure they’re fit and game ready. No matter what you tell yourself, when you come into an MLS game, it’s that first breath — it’s difficult. But I thought he made an impact. He knows the game. He’s athletic. He’s fast. He definitely has got a bright future.”

(On first impressions of Sean Okoli…) “I came in a little bit late, but I heard positive things from the other guys — that Okoli was tearing it up in a couple of games. Early on in the preseason, I think it was a little bit of an adjustment. From what I saw in Tucson and Charleston, he came into games, made an impact, drew the penalty kick first game in the first game in Charleston. Even since then, he’s been confident, and I think that helps, as well.”

DeAndre Yedlin – Sounders FC Defender

(On fighting all the way until the end…) “We showed it in preseason, carrying it through, but it doesn’t stop here. Obviously this was the first game of the season. It’s great to get three points, now we just need to look forward to the first game and move along. Enjoy it, but don’t get too high off of it.”

(On how his ankle feels…) “It was alright. I got into one tackle in the first half that bothered a little bit, but it recovered after about a minute and half, two minutes, so that’s good information for me to know that I can keep going on if I feel it turn or twist.”

(On the perseverance of the team…) “That’s one of the reasons Sigi brought in so many new guys. He brought guys that are going to fight for the team. It’s great to see, amazing to be a part of seeing everybody’s fight and I think it’s something that’s going to carry us pretty far this year.”

(On the play of fellow homegrown Sean Okoli…) “It was great. It was a proud moment, not just for him, but for me, too. It’s crazy being reunited with him, and I couldn’t help but smile when he was coming on the field, because I know what that’s like to come and play for the first time. I’m sure it was an amazing feeling for him and I’m proud of him.”

Dylan Remick – Sounders FC Defender

(On if he feels he earned the minutes with a strong preseason even if there was an injury involved with Leo Gonzalez…) “As I’ve said, it’s never good to get an opportunity because someone is hurt, especially Leo, who’s been so helpful to me in my progression as a player. But it was good. I did have a lot of confidence. I felt I had played well in preseason and all my teammates, Brad, Ozzie, Djimi, Chad, DeAndre, they’re all so helpful to me in the game, they help me in preseason as I sort of just found my rhythm. I feel comfortable playing with them. I’m fortunate they were really helpful. I just took it from there, relishing the opportunity and enjoying it all.”

(On stepping out onto Xbox pitch for the first time…) “It was crazy. I’ve been up in the booth and on the bench a few times, but to actually be the one walking out when the boom boom clap goes and the national anthem, it’s just something I’ll never forget. One of those things that are pretty special and definitely have the adrenaline and chills going, so I got pretty pumped up for the game.”

Sean Okoli – Sounders FC Forward

(On his debut and setting up the goal…) “When I came in, the coaches told me just do the best I can to get in behind the defense and try to make an impact. So I just tried to get the ball at my feet and get a couple of touches in. On the counter, Clint found me on the far side, and I just whipped the ball in. It was a mosh pit in there, so it was good to see our guys get on the end of it.”

(On the goal…) ” I swear I blacked out when it happened. It was a great feeling, seeing the fans going go nuts like that and to have us walkout with three points is just a great feeling.”

(On having been here watching the games before playing…) “It’s a lot different. When I was in the academy coming to the games, I didn’t have any pressure on me. Obviously I wasn’t suiting up or anything. So when I stepped on the field today, I actually knew the fans were there and behind my back and that was a great feeling.”

(On if Schmid has growing confidence on him…) “I hope so. I just go out there everyday and giving it my all. I think I’ve been doing OK, but I’ve got a lot more work to do, and I’m ready to work.”

Peter Vermes – Sporting Kansas City Head Coach

(On the game …) “I thought we played very well. Coming in here, this is not an easy place to play being the first game of the season and their home opener. I thought we played very well for 93 minutes and (33) seconds. We did a really good job on both sides. Defensively, we were very disciplined. We had one lapse in our defensive shape overall, and that was in the last 17 seconds. It’s unfortunate. We probably should’ve gotten a lot more coming out of this game because we had some really good chances, as well, but that’s the way it goes. We’ve had this happen to us before — four times. It is what it is. We always do a good job of rebounding and we’ll do the same thing again.”

(On what he saw develop on the last play …) “In midfield, we got ourselves out of shape. Two of our guys — out of the two of them, one of them should be at least holding. Both extended themselves and opened up the middle of the field. From that point on, it created a bit of a snowball effect. The ball goes out wide, everybody is trying to recover. It was good service into the box. The ball’s not cleared, bounces around and ends up in the back of the net. We almost had one very similar on their end earlier on in the game so it just fell to them.”

(On goalkeeper Eric Kronberg’s play …) “Played a great game. He has nothing to even be thinking about other than the fact that he played a very, very good game for us.”

(On roster choices going forward …) “We have five games in 15 days so we have to be able to use everybody at this time to get us something in all these games from a physical perspective. We’re trying to make sure we’re rotating our roster around.”

(On the message to the team to get ready for Wednesday’s Champions League game …) “We just go on to the next game. We have to learn from what happened.”

(On some No. 2s stepping in to play this early in the season …) “Like I said, the team played well. I don’t have any criticism for any of the guys, other than the fact that we had one lapse in the midfield late in the game. We should’ve been very smart and kept things compact, and at the end it fell apart, but outside of that, the team played really well.”

Graham Zusi – Sporting Kansas City Midfielder

(On the team’s performance…) “I thought for 90-plus minutes, we were excellent, very hard to break down, had a couple chances of our own.  Just a stupid mistake by me in the 93rd minute punished us and something that can’t happen.”

(On his involvement in Seattle goal…) “To be honest, a stupid play by me. There’s no need for me to try to split the ‘D’ there and play a square ball in their half.  That ball should be 20 rows into the stands. Just not a smart play by me.”

(On games being decided late against Seattle…) “Just the way the games between us go.  It always seems to come down to the wire between us, and for one reason or another they’ve been the team to come out on top.”

(On using this game to prepare for Wednesday’s game…) “I think we can take positives from it.  If we’re that hard to play against and that hard to break down, we’re going to come out on top in games like this more often than not.  Defensively, I thought we were very good; we can take that into Wednesday.”

Eric Kronberg – Sporting Kansas City Goalkeeper

(On the goal…) “It was a tough one.  It was a cross into the six, so Besler’s right in front of me and I figured if he’s going to win it, he’ll hit it out, so I went for it, too, and unluckily he kind of beat me to it and hit it straight up in the air. It’s just one of those plays where everyone has a little part in it … but I think for the most part the performance was solid and we have something to build on.”

(On the team’s performance…) “I think we were definitely pretty hard to break down, and coming into a place like Seattle, it’s always a tough place to play. We had our chances, too. I’m looking forward to the year. I think we definitely have a good team to build on and this performance was pretty solid all around.”

(On the opportunity to start the opener for the first time…) “It was almost amazing. A lot of excitement, for sure, some nerves, but once you get out on the field, you feel like every other day and you feel comfortable and confident.  It’s a great place to play and just wish we could’ve gotten a result.”

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Scoring Summary:

SEA – Chad Barrett (Clint Dempsey) 94+

Seattle Sounders FC – Stefan Frei, DeAndre Yedlin, Chad Marshall, Djimi Troare, Dylan Remick, Lamar Neagle (Sean Okoli 86′), Osvaldo Alonso, Brad Evans, Marco Pappa (Clint Dempsey 57′), Kenny Cooper (Chad Barrett 78′), Obafemi Martins.

Substitutes Not Used: Marcus Hahnemann, Zach Scott, Jalil Anibaba, Andy Rose.

TOTAL SHOTS: 14 (Cooper, 4); SHOTS ON GOAL: 5 (Barrett, 2); FOULS: 15 (Cooper, 4); OFFSIDE: 1 (Martins, 1); CORNER KICKS: 5 (Pappa, 3); SAVES: 3 (Frei, 3).

Sporting Kansas City – Eric Kronberg, Josh Gardner (Mechack Jerome 92+), Matt Besler, Aurelien Collin, Kevin Ellis, Lawrence Olum, Benny Feilhaber (Ike Opara 93+), Graham Zusi, C.J. Sapong, Jacob Peterson (Sal Zizzo 58′), Don Dwyer.

Substitutes Not Used: Andy Gruenebaum, Oriol Rossell, Jimmy Medranda, Claudio Bieler.

TOTAL SHOTS: 9 (Dwyer, 5); SHOTS ON GOAL: 3 (Dwyer, 2); FOULS: 25 (2 players, 5); OFFSIDE: 1 (Sapong, 1); CORNER KICKS: 7 (Zusi, 7); SAVES: 4 (Kronberg, 4).

Misconduct Summary:

KC – Aurelien Collin (caution) 16′
SEA – Kenny Cooper (caution) 34′
SEA – Osvaldo Alonso (caution) 44′
KC – Benny Feilhaber (caution) 46′
KC – C.J. Sapong (caution) 83′

Referee: Alan Kelly
Referee’s Assistants: Dimitar Chadarav; Kyle Longville
4th Official: William Niccolls
Attendance: 39,240
Time of Game: 1:53
Weather: Rain

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