Much of coach Sigi Schmid’s post-practice press meeting was devoted to personnel issues. Here’s the long list.
On losing Johnson and Evans — but not Dempsey — to the U.S. national team: Jurgen understood (Dempsey is recovering from hamstring injury). We spoke as well and felt that it was a good chance for him to make some things up fitness-wise, to make sure that his hamstring gets 100 percent ready. We want him ready for the playoffs, Jurgen wants him ready as well for their final things in the World Cup and everything else. So it’s a win-win for both sides. Eddie and Brad are in there, so we’ll obviously miss them in these next two games. But we’ll see how Clint continues to develop next week.
On whether these calls remain for both USA games: I don’t know. I can’t read Jurgen’s mind, so I don’t know if he’s going to make changes. I don’t know if they win the first game and they secure the championship with the group, does that change their minds. Do they think that they have a shot at getting into the first seven or eight in the FIFA rankings? That seems like a long shot, but maybe it’s not a long shot depending on what happens, because there are teams that are ranked in those top 12 that might not qualify. Uruguay might not qualify. Greece isn’t going to qualify. So, there are teams that are ahead of them that aren’t going to qualify, so maybe when they look at it that way they’re not that far away. So the importance of the results weight into it. That’s a decision Jurgen has to make.
On Dempsey’s possible game availability for Vancouver on Wednesday and/or Portland on Sunday: We’ll see. We continue every day a little bit more. A little bit more shooting. So for today he feels really good. The progress has come along really well for him. So now we’ll see how he feels tomorrow. That will make a determination in regards to Wednesday, and then we’ll make our determination after Wednesday for Sunday. So it’s basically game-by-game. I think chances of him to start getting on the field improve as this week goes on.
On playing without Johnson and Evans: Obviously we have to make positional changes, but with Oba coming back in, Neagle’s shown that he can play up front for us as well, and Brad pushed out to the left part of midfield for us in the last game. So now we’ve just got to see who goes into that position out there.
On Obafemi Martins’ late scratch from Colorado: Martins, it was just still not fully recovered from the cortisone injection and was still having some issues with it, but the rest over the weekend has helped settle that down. He said he felt pretty good, we’ll see how he feels tomorrow after the training today, and hopefully he’ll be able to go Wednesday.
On other recovering players: Djimi did more today. We did some running with him at the end, so now it’s a case of how he feels tomorrow. He felt pretty good today upon what he did. Leo is feeling better each day. Is it enough for Wednesday? We’ll see. Is it enough for Sunday? Probably. He’s making good progress, and for him again it’s how does he feel tomorrow.
On rookie Dylan Remick’s debut: I thought he did well. I thought it was a game obviously once we were losing, I said to the coaches at halftime I think this is a game where we’re going to give Remick a run because I think he’s been doing well at training, he’s been doing well in the reserve games. And I think he did well. I thought he came in and did well. In fact even for him as a young guy, when Zach got thrown out, he went inside as stopper. I thought maybe Burch would go inside, but instead Remick went inside, and I thought that was great. He wasn’t afraid of the responsibility, and I thought early when he played left back, he was the one who crossed the ball for Eddie’s shot that hit the crossbar. He wasn’t intimidated by the situation, which I think was a very good sign.
On Zach Scott’s two-game disciplinary suspensions for accumulation: It obviously affects things. Even Zach will admit that it was a silly foul – the second one – because Patrick was right there. He didn’t do much, but the guy was going to go down like he’s been molested, but obviously the referee called it, and it was a second yellow for him. It’s something that we have to avoid in the future.
On subbing out Osvaldo Alonso, Jhon Kennedy Hurtado and Mauro Rosales on Saturday with this week in mind: At halftime we knew that Zach was going to be out for the next game, so I wanted to keep Zach on the field and take Kennedy off so that we could use him again on Wednesday so he wouldn’t have three full games under his belt. And same thing with Mauro. At that time I felt if we caught a couple of goals really early in the half we’d keep going, but we were 65 in at that point, so I said let’s get Mauro off and he can come back on Wednesday as well because sometimes when we’ve had three games in a week we’ll play him on the weekends and not play him on the Wednesday, but this gave us a chance. And with Ozzie it was the same thing. Ozzie plays a lot of minutes for us, and this gave us a chance to save a little bit of his legs as well.