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Sounders at MLS midpoint: “Up and down,” says technical director; coach grades C+ or B-

Post by Don Ruiz / The News Tribune on July 3, 2012 at 7:11 am with No Comments »
July 2, 2012 8:59 pm

The Sounders are 7-5-5 (26 points) halfway through their 34-game MLS regular season. If the second half of the season duplicates the first:

*The Sounders would end the season with 52 points, a regression from the 63 of last season, and the first time in their four-season history that they did not improve on the season before.

*Eddie Johnson would lead the club with 14 goals. That would top Fredy Montero’s club-record 12 in a season. Montero would end the season with a career-low eight, and it would mark the first time he hasn’t at least shared the club’s goal-scoring title.

*Montero and Rosales would share the assists lead with eight.

Here is some of what technical director Chris Henderson and coach Sigi Schmid had to say the the half-way point:

Describing the season so far:
Up and down. We started off on a really good run. We’ve had a stretch here where it hasn’t gone as well. We’ve had some key players out. Getting everyone healthy and back again is going to help our group. We’ve been a team that’s been able to put a good stretch together from the middle to the end in past years. We’re counting on that this year. We’re counting on our veterans to really pull the young guys along. I think this stretch has been a tough stretch for the guys, and I think everybody is trying to do their best, from the players to the staff to the management all the way through to do what you can to go beyond the extra to help the club.

If personnel moves are possible: Just like every other year, at the same point in the last couple of years, we’re working on things that we feel could improve the squad. Those things are still continuing, and we’re going to keep working for that. And I think that’s what the back-room staff and the rest of us have to always try to look for players. I think our players know that, because every year things change within teams. We have to make sure that we’re moving forward and taking it one game at a time on results. And then I think if results are not coming, change is something that’s part of pro sports.

If a new keeper might be brought in if Gspurning isn’t dependably healthy: We believe in all our keepers. We brought Michael in to be the experienced guy who has been through those battles. Nobody can guess that an injury like this is going to come along. It’s encouraging lately: I think it’s going in a good direction with him. So I think we’re going to make sure. But I think we’re always looking that if it doesn’t happen you’ve got to try to bring in a guy with that experience – at the same time believing in our whole group of keepers. … We’re always looking at that position, too.

On how he grades the first half of the season:
“It’s probably a C+ or B-. I think we started off the season well. I think lately we haven’t gotten the results. We haven’t been beaten twice in a row, a couple of times coming back. We were close to victories like Saturday and we didn’t get it. We can play better soccer than we’ve played. We need to get back to playing a little bit like we were at the beginning of the year. I’ve been pleased with our mentality and the way we’ve approached the last two games.”

On where the team could use help: “We’re always looking at players. We’re always discussing different possibilities. Obviously you’re looking at production: who’s producing and who’s not producing. Certain things, the way we’ve constructed this team and the way we’ve built this team, we haven’t gotten the production in certain areas of the field that we had expected going into it. So maybe you shift your thinking, but it’s tough to change how your team is structured in the middle of the season. You can add some things here and there. I don’t know if it’s a one-for-one, or if it’s somebody (changing) how they play. Those are things we’re kicking around right now.”

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