The top individual story of the Sounders’ 3-1 season-opening win over Toronto obviously was the hat trick by David Estrada, the controversial 2010 first-round pick who did little over his first two seasons before emerging as a starter and now perhaps even potential star in this one.
Some Sounders reaction:
Have you ever experienced a standing ovation like that?
Never. I think when we played in Vancouver during my first year I had a lot of people cheering, but it was incredible to have the whole stadium canting my name.
How does it feel to get your first hat trick?
It was unbelievable. I am just thankful that I have the teammates I have. I am happy to have the players that I get to play with every day.
Are you prepared for the potential cult leader status that is about to be portrayed onto you?
No I don’t think so. I am just happy that we were able to win. We got the three points and that is the most important thing.
Can you describe the three goals?
They were going to step up high so I knew there was going to be some space behind them. I was very mad that I wasn’t able to put away two chances that I had early on. Luckily in the second half I had two go in.
When was the last time you scored a hat trick?
So long ago. Most likely high school. I had two goals the semi-finals, but that is the most I had in college. It has been a long time.
Can you believe how far you have come since the end of last season?
It has been a long time coming. Like I said I am just so thankful for the players around me. I started to put myself down a little after last year, but they are always right there to pick me back up. It has been a long time coming.
On his grandfather:
I never met him, but he is a big influence in my family me playing soccer. He is big time in my life. I never met him, but he is just so important to me and my family. My extended family back home plays for a Sunday league team named after him.
Coach SIGI SCHMID
On Estrada: Everybody thought maybe he was a bad draft choice. I felt that maybe if I could keep him around long enough, maybe eventually I’d get something out of him so I wouldn’t look so bad.
At the end of last season you saw all of a sudden things start to click with him maybe a little bit more.
On Estrada returning to forward because of injury to O’Brian White: We said look, we’re going to stick you back up front. We think that’s your best spot. His work rate is unbeleiveable. Nobody deserves it more in terms of the effort that they put in day in and day out is fantastic. And I remember watching him play as a freshman at UCLA, and I thought his finishing was good. Today … he finished very well.
Midfielder Brad Evans
On Estrada: “Obviously he’s been here a couple years now and just hadn’t gotten that sniff, but he keeps trying and he keeps going and was all over the place on the field. It’s huge. Something that we haven’t had in the past is that runner that’s up top and that’s good at getting behind the defense and can just wreak havoc. When you have that it disorganizes the other defense. Instead of playing in front of them all the time we have somebody that can stretch and bring players out. He found himself in good positions this game and finished three really good goals.”
Midfielder Mauro Rosales
On Estrada: “We are very happy about him. He is working every day to have these kinds of games. We are very proud.”