Sounders coach Sigi Schmid thought his team made some unforced errors in its 4-2 loss to Chelsea FC tonight. But he also admitted there’s just a difference between the quality of EPL players and MLS players.
Here’s his opening statement in the post-match press conference:
I thought in the first half offensively we did some good things. Not only the two goals, I thought we created good chances. I thought Hilario made a couple of good saves for them. So we were a bit unfortunate, maybe, not to get more than two goals. I thought on the other side of the ball defensively, I thought we got caught napping on counterattacks and quick turnovers. Our transition wasn’t very good. There were a couple of individual mistakes. Certainly we got manhandled on the first goal. We turn over a ball sillyly on the one goal. We get caught pushed up on the other goal when we’re pushed up on the other side of the field. So, those are things we know we can’t do. Maybe it’s the exuberance of the game and we were having some success going forward, so maybe we did that and that resulted in the two late goals. But the two early goals was just mentally not being sharp, not being as ready as maybe we needed to do. And there’s still a difference. Speed of play is maybe a little bit faster, for sure – especially the speed of play from the standpoint of when balls turn over. And then the quality: As we always say, that’s why the value of the teams is drastically different.
Here’s some more of what Schmid had to say:
On if there is anything they can do better in terms of preparing for the level of competition of teams like Chelsea) “To play against those kind of players week-in and week-out, because eventually if you play against those players week-in and week-out then you’re going to get faster and you’re going to react faster. That’s when you’re always trying to do is you’re trying to bring your training up to as high a level as you can because that’s what you do more often than play games, so it’s the higher the level that you can bring your training. Then again, the quality of players is going to take you to a certain level. When you look at players that they’re bringing in or they are players that aren’t here for them – I mean, when they train they’re training at a very high level against high-level players who are playing equally as fast. So when you train against that every day you have to adjust and your game becomes faster.”
On if the team’s play today was better than the level of play they demonstrated a few years ago against Chelsea) “Well, I think the level in MLS is improving constantly and I think offensively we were far more successful this time around than we were last time. Again, not just taking the standpoint because we scored two goals, but I think we also created a number of good chances and we were able to possess the ball in their end of the field. So from that standpoint I think we were good. I think what hurt us today was just transition and that needs to be better.”
On what made Chelsea the better team today and allowed them to score goals) “Well, the class of their counter-attack and they close really quickly when they see a guy receive a ball in a bad position, and their recognition of that is very good. So from that standpoint that certainly helps. It’s still that recognition factor is sharper on their end.”
On changing goalkeepers from Bryan Meredith to Josh Ford at halftime) “We were going to play Josh Ford today. We weren’t quite sure how many minutes we were going to play him and at the end of the half I made the decision to let him play the whole second half, so that was the decision we made there. But we had anticipated him playing at least 30 [minutes], so it wasn’t a big change.
On Fredy Montero’s goals) “Forwards are streaky. He got the goal in New York and he got two tonight, so hopefully he’ll go on to a streak. The bench is a place that no player likes in particular – they’re going to be respectful and they’re probably not going to cuss and swear at me and things like that, but it burns inside and you want to show that, ‘Hey, I belong here and I want to get on the field.’ And that’s the same whether that’s Fredy or that’s Brad Evans – who went to the bench for a little bit, or whomever it is. But I was pleased. I thought he took his goals well and he did good.”
On Brad Evans’ injury status) “We’re not quite sure. He blocked it with the outside of his foot, so it looks like it might be a slight strain of the knee, but we’re not sure.”