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RSL series “not about payback, it’s about advancing”

Post by Don Ruiz / The News Tribune on Oct. 30, 2012 at 3:20 pm with No Comments »
October 30, 2012 3:21 pm

We’ve covered the Eddie Johnson situation in a post below, but that wasn’t all that was covered in the Sounders’ media session today.

Here’s more from coach Sigi Schmid:

On playing RSL again in the playoffs: “Well, when you’re in the same conference and you’re both good teams, you’re going to meet each other in the playoffs. It’s the second year in a row. We want it to be different result at the end of the day, for sure. For us, eventually if you want to win a championship you have to beat everybody along the way or hope that somebody beats them for you. They’re our challenge, they’re our obstacle in front of us, and we have to take care of them.”

On the struggles to score goals against RSL: “I don’t know. If you look at our team, I don’t think we’ve played our full team against them. One time we came off of a game where we had somebody out. Ozzie [Alonso] I know missed one game and Eddie’s missed a couple games, [Sammy] Ochoa started games. I think we’ve had different groups. I think there are also teams that are good possession teams, that hold the ball, and sometimes the play maybe gets bogged down a little bit at midfield as a result of that. They concentrate defensively against us because they know we can move the ball, and we concentrate defensively against them because we know they’re a good team at moving the ball around, so that’s why they’ve been tied games.”

On if the strategy changes playing at home first: “No, the strategy is the same. You want to win at home and you want to get something on the road. If you get something on the road and you win at home, then you advance. Whether you’re at home first or second, that doesn’t change the strategy.”

On who will start up front if Johnson is out: “We’ll see. We’ll see what we think is best. We’ll take a good look at our past games. Ochoa has played in the past, [David] Estrada really hasn’t been available for them, so he’s certainly an option that can play there. [Steve] Zakuani is somebody who is now back in the mix; he’s played up front before. I think we have three options that are there, even [Mauro] Rosales could push up high if we needed to.”

On only one total goal being scored in the three games with RSL this year: “The teams are close. They’re evenly matched. Whenever you get to this type of competition and it’s in the playoffs, it’s definitely something where sometimes an error will decide a game. Sometimes it’s a set piece that will decide the game, but games are decided on very few things. The game itself is always the same-within a 90 minute game, each team has moments where they dominate the game, and you have to score when you dominate the game and you have to make sure they don’t score when they dominate the game. If you do that, you win.”

On if the team wants payback after losing to RSL last year in the playoffs: “It’s not about payback, it’s about advancing. We’ve got too much to think about to think about payback and getting even and all that. All we want to do is advance. Advancing will give us the payback.”

On if there is extra pressure to advance after losing in the first round the last three years: “I think there’s nine other teams right now that would like to be where we are, and we’re still in the playoffs. The way the playoff system is in the league, obviously [18] teams are going to end the season unhappy, and only one ends up happy. When you look at it, RSL ended up happy three years ago-it’s been a while since they’re ended up happy. We want to make sure we get beyond the first round because we haven’t accomplished that. Players are motivated and focused on that task at hand, but on the same token we’re also proud of what we’ve accomplished and proud of the fact that we’re in the playoffs again.”

On the midfield matchup of Osvaldo Alonso and Kyle Beckerman: “It’s a matchup where they don’t really match up with each other. They each play an important role for their team in that they’re sort of the hub around the defensive effort in front of the back four, and also the first one sometimes to release the ball. Beckerman is a guy who’s obviously very important to [Javier] Morales because he finds Morales an awful lot. Ozzie is a player who’s very important in terms of finding Mauro and in terms of finding [Christian] Tiffert. I expect those guys are quality players, so they’re going to be ready to play.”

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