Sounders coach Sigi Schmid wasn’t interested in talking about any lineup changes he has in mind for Santos tomorrow. However, there’s no getting around one of them: Marcus Hahnemann starting in place of goalkeeper Michael Gspurning, who is out due to yellow-card suspension.
“Marcus is an expreinced goalkeeper,” Schmid said. “He’s been in a lot of big games, he’s been with the national team, he’s been at World Cups – not necessarily played in those games, but he’s been part of it, so he knows what big occasions are. He’s a quality goalkeeper. It’s the reason we signed him last year when the opportunity presented itself. … We feel very confident in Marcus.”
Here’s some of what Hahnemann had to say:
On how he’s feeling) “Pretty good. We had a good training today. It’s nice, after a disappointing result on Saturday, you come in after a travel day yesterday and you can’t even think about Saturday anymore; there’s no time to dwell on it, you just have to go in and be ready for Tuesday. So it’s kind of put it behind you as soon as possible and hopefully a good result tomorrow. We need a little jump start to get our season going.
On if team’s start is a shock) “Yeah. And then the preseason we had: We had a great preseason. We cruised through most of the games. The first team, switching, young team, switching, and with all the personnel changes. And we thought we were cruising. And maybe that’s what happened: It was all a little bit too easy. And you come in to the start of the season and everything has been a grind, we haven’t had any luck. But we have to work hard, and ultimately it’s going to be tough tomorrow night against Santos: those teams that control the ball so well and have a lot of good players. But on the turf, at home, we’re going to put it to them, I hope.”
On pressure of the home leg of a series that values away goals) “Obviously you want to keep a clean sheet, because that’s so important. You want to stop them getting away goals. If we can do that — the way our defense has been in the past, we’ve been spot on, we looked good against Tigres. A little bit more luck, and we’re going to have to obviously change personnel because a few guys are out injured and we just played on Saturday. So, we’ll see what the team is tomorrow and hopefully it’ll be all right.”
On playing a Mexican team) “It doesn’t really matter. I don’t care who it is. Salt Lake, L.A., Mexican team, Brazilian team, English team: It’s still a game of soccer and we want to go out and win, especially in front of our home fans. We want to play exciting soccer. We want to score goals. We want to put pressure on them and do all those things. I don’t think we’ve quite done that this year. I know sometimes the cup games are a distraction and everyone dreads them; but now we’re just kind of sitting in last place, and sometimes you need these things to maybe just give us a little jump start to our season.”
On difficulty of first start with first team) “No, training is difficult. Games are easy. Try training with (goalkeeper coach Tommy Dutra) for an hour and a half. That’s hard. Games are a piece of cake.”
On the importance of his experience) “We’re going to have a lot of young guys out there, so hopefully my yelling can keep them in the right spot, and hopefully they don’t have to run too much. I’m yelling before stuff happens to keep them in the right position. I think it’s pointless yelling at someone when they couldn’t make a pass and it doesn’t go where they want it to. That doesn’t do anything. Of course he didn’t mean to kick it out of play. I’m going to do that tomorrow – guaranteed — I’ll kick it into the stands for some reason, trying to play someone down the line and there’s going to be one lucky fan walking away with a ball. But obviously we don’t mean to do that. But it’s the organizational side that I think I’m fairly good at.”
On playing in a game of this magnitude) “It’s huge. For myself, every time I get to put on the shirt, it has huge meaning. And so now all of a sudden it’s Champions League, CONCACAF, whatever we call it now – I don’t even know — it’s a huge deal. Tigres was the first time a U.S. team has got past a Mexican team in a two-game series, and hopefully we can make it another time.”