Here is coach Sigi Schmid’s opening statement after the Sounders 1-1 draw with LA tonight.
Overall I was very happy with our play today. I thought putting the midfield together the way we did and playing the two up front – Eddie Johnson and Neagle – I thought especially in the first half I thought it resulted in some good possession for us and I thought we created some good chances. We need to make better use of those chances. I know we were a bit fortunte on the one that got cleared off the line because apparently everybody’s saying that was in, but maybe luck is turning for us a little bit. When they score, they do well to keep the pressure on, but I’m sure that’s not the shot he wanted to hit, to pound it into the turf, but he did and it goes into the goal. But we had some chances on the other end of the field. I thought we were close, but we need to finish one or two more of those. But overall the flow of the game and our play I thought was a big improvement over the way we have been playing, and certainly a big step forward as we move into the playoffs on Wednesday.
Here’s more of what the coach had to say:
(On ending the losing streak…) “The most important thing is that we play well and get results. I think today it was important, as well, to stop the bleeding a little bit, so to get a tie out of it—we had a win that was almost there, we gave up a goal after we had the lead and we talked about playing to zero at halftime. We also played the team that’s the two-time defending champions and we played them even, and even had more at times. We just have to continue to know what that did for us and build upon it.”
(On Clint Dempsey’s goal…) “It was good to see Clint score. I think that was important for him. It takes a lot of pressure off of him…He’s going to be more confident and that allows us then to make sure that we find him. I thought we did a good job of finding him. It’s the first time we’ve played like this in midfield, so it’s a matter of continuing to sharpen how we’re going play in that unit of four players in that formation. In terms of being up one-nothing and giving up a goal, obviously you want to keep it tight in the back—we gave up a little more possession, but it isn’t like this is the same thing that’s happening over and over or something like that. The one time we gave up a goal in the Portland game it was really late, it was off a cross and a header and we lost a man. You try and hit all those things and make sure you do those things well. If there was a common theme of the same thing happening in terms of the same type of goal or the same types of breakdowns, then it’s something you have to address.”
(On the different look in midfield…) “I think the change in shape helped our team. I thought we did alright, we built some triangles. I thought Clint found the ball more, I thought we had players to play forward, as well, so I thought we put good pressure on them also. It’s a little bit of work for Evans and for Moffat sliding in and out like that, and it’s something they have to get used to and the coordination needs to get better. Overall I thought it was pretty good.”
(On the play of Michael Gspurning…) “I thought he was all right. He made that big save going to his left in the first half…He kept things close. There were a couple of rebounds he gave up that he kept close and he did well with the goal—I don’t think there was much he could do.”
(On having to go through the play-in game…) “Adam [Moffat] told the team—last year that’s where Houston was. Houston finished fifth and they got to MLS Cup. It doesn’t matter where you are. You just have to win your games and move forward. Certainly Wednesday is a game you have to win because it’s a one-off. And then after that you get into the next series and you work on that aspect of it. We have to be prepared Wednesday. We owe Colorado one. It’s good that we’re both on the same rhythm and that they play tonight, as well. So we’ll see how it goes.”
(On having a chance by just making the playoffs…) “It’s the same thing. We talked about that. We said the most important thing is you have to be invited to the dance. It doesn’t matter whether you’re first, second, third, fourth, or fifth. So we have the play-in game at home. Houston had it away last year. The Galaxy had it at home, beat Vancouver and forward from there. We are capable of doing the very same thing and there’s enough ability and enough talent there that we can go ahead and do that. Tonight, Leo Gonzalez didn’t play because we wanted him to make sure he was ready for the playoffs. We held Mauro a little bit because he’s been having some knee issues, so we’ll make sure he’s ready for the playoffs, as well. Eddie was tightening up, so that’s one of the reasons we took him out of the game, to make sure that he’s ready for Wednesday, as well. Our team will be ready to play.”
(On the status of Obafemi Martins…) “We’ll see. We’ve given him a couple days here to rejuvenate and recover a little bit because we knew he wasn’t going to play tonight, so we’ll see how he is tomorrow. Hopefully if not in a starting situation, hopefully he’s a guy, if we need it, can come off the bench for us on Wednesday. If not, he’s a guys if he can’t get through Wednesday, he’s fresh for the weekend.”
(On the formation up top…) “Mauro (Rosales) has played up front for us before so we push Mauro up front. We thought he could drop off and find some things. Lamar (Neagle) was also getting beat up pretty good and was starting to get hurt, so by taking him off and pushing Dempsey up front, we figured Rose could come in and get some corners, get some balls into the box and help us win some of those.”
(On finishing well…) “Every team wants to finish well. Look at DC’s game against Houston today. DC is unlucky to not get a better result. Every team wants to finish well and have their fans leave with a good taste in their mouth”
(On the pressure of the playoffs…) “The pressure in the playoffs is always the same—the pressure is that you want to win MLS Cup. Nobody cares when you get knocked out what round you got knocked in and nobody cares what position you were in when you started the playoffs. All they care about is where you finish in the playoffs. Today New York won Supporters Shield, [but] if New York gets knocked out in the first round of the playoffs, nobody is going to talk a heck of a lot about the Supporters Shield, they are just talk about them getting knocked out. That is the reality of the sport and that is the pressure all of the coaches in this league live in.
(On preparing for a game on Wednesday…) “The regen starts now. Guys have to make sure they eat the right things and to put some things into their body. They got to get into cold baths tonight and things like that. Tomorrow they must have a good regen to help them recover. They will be more sore Tuesday and by Wednesday they will be able to play. The mind is a strong piece of the body that can carry you through when your body isn’t feeling so well.”
(On playing a playoff game at home…) “Keep the faith, got to come out again. It is fantastic to look at our crowd and setting an attendance record for the fifth year in a row. I don’t think people understand how much work the front office puts in and that’s a reflection on the entire organization. Just like the sporting side—being able to make the playoffs five years in a row is not all that common in this league. Every team sometimes, when it slips up and doesn’t make the playoffs, gets some allocation money it’s easier to rebuild and get yourself back up there, but to stay in there year in and year out is a difficult task. The sporting side has done that well but our fans, and what they do in our front office here to get the fans out here, and the experience they have in the stadium will continue to be a solid one and we will continue to put everything we can every time we play for them.”