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June 5, 2014 at 12:47 PM

Sigi Schmid on the Chicago Fire, going into the World Cup break in first place

Sounders FC coach Sigi Schmid spoke with reporters after Thursday’s practice, just a few minutes before the team was set to take off for Chicago. The interview mainly focused on this weekend’s game, plus the guarantee that Seattle will be in first place going into the World Cup break.

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(What did you make of the Chicago game last night?) “Obviously they played a different lineup, but (it was) some of the same people, especially down the middle of the field. Ritter played. Hurtado and Soumare and Larentowicz, those guys were the same guys. But it was just good to see the game — what the rhythm of the game was like, how they defended. Like I’ve said, they’re a team that makes it very difficult to break them down because they often defend with a block of four and a block of five.”

(What have you made of the season of a couple familiar guys in Jhon Kennedy Hurtado and Patrick Ianni?) “I think Patrick is out sick right now or something, and JK has played a lot of games for them. It was a difficult decision for us at the time because JK was very good for us and was a very likeable player within our group, but we felt with the moves we were making that it was a move we had to make, as well. It will be good to see them again. I like JK and I like Patrick.”

(Chicago has never beaten you in nine meetings. Do you think that will serve as motivation for them?) “Some of those guys… I mean Harrison Shipp wasn’t there for any of those games, so it doesn’t matter to him. It doesn’t matter to Benji Joya; he wasn’t there for any of those games. Magee was maybe only there for one — if he was there at all. History is maybe there, but there are so many guys on the field who have no part of that history, so I think you don’t think about it. As a coach, it’s something you can maybe use as motivation, and I’m sure Frank will use that.”

(Is it particularly satisfying knowing you’ll be going into the World Cup break in first place no matter that happens this weekend?) “It’s just a good place to be. We moved to the top, we’ve been there now for a couple of weeks, and like I’ve said, it’s harder to stay there than to get there. And I think this year we’re showing a little more resiliency in trying to stay there. So from that standpoint, I’m proud of that fact and the team should be very happy with what we’ve achieved … Even though it’s not halfway, going into it at this break time and having those points accumulated and in the bank gives you a good feeling, but you still have to keep working.”

(Chad Barrett has mentioned a few times wanting to get to the break with at least 30 points, meaning at least a tie Saturday. Is that a sentiment you agree with and is it mostly about going into the break on a positive not?) “Yeah. We want to continue to win, and we’ve been a good team on the road. If we can get three points and actually get ourselves to 32, that would be nice. But we want to end on a positive result and continue to go so we go into that break with a good feeling. Nobody wants to go away and take a few days off and be thinking about a loss, so we’d rather be thinking about a win or at least a successful venture into Chicago.”

(What makes Chicago a dangerous team?) “Chicago, they’re a dangerous team because, like I’ve said, they defend well. They do a good job of compacting their defense. They do a good job of pressuring you in wide channels. Amarikwa is a dangerous player up front. Sometimes he’s a little bit like a bowling ball that keeps running into things and knocking things over but somehow he gets through, and he’s certainly found good goal-scoring form this year and has had a good season. They’re a team that’s always dangerous on the counter because of him, and then Harrison Shipp is probably one of the leading candidates for Rookie of the Year. If Magee is healthy, that just adds another danger spot for them. If he’s not healthy, then obviously (they have) Shipp and Amarikwa, and Dilly Duka is a player who can beat people on the flank. I think those guys are all dangerous.”

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I wasn’t able to get to Schmid’s interview from Tuesday, but here is some team-provided video…

| More in Sounders FC, Stop and chats

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