Here's some of what coach Sigi Schmid had to say tonight after the Sounders ended their preseason with a 1-1 draw against Sporting Kansas City:
On this game: I thought we started the game slowly. We weren’t really as sharp as I wanted us to be. As the game went on, we obviously gave up a goal, but I thought from about the 25-minute mark on, I thought we picked up our game and played better. I thought we were playing better at the start of the second half, and then we got some good energy from Andy Rose and Kovar when they came into the game. I think that helped us, and at the end we had enough chances to win the game. But I thought we started out slowly today.
On team fitness going into the season: You never go into your first game where everybody is 100 percent fit. If you’ve 100 percent fit at that point you’re probably going to pay for it at the end of the year. But we’re where I think we need to bit fitness-wise. The changes we made today were more just tactical changes, it was more to get some life into our game.
On the overall preseason: Obviously a game like today, you learn from game to game and there are certain things we’ve got to work on. This was an example of a team that definitely played 4-2-3-1, had the extra guy in midfield. The first time we played them we were able to take care of the extra guy by playing the 3-5-2. And even though we were down 2-0 at halftime, we weren’t outplayed and we had more of the game, per se. Today we did get outplayed at times in the early 25 minutes because of that extra man in there. So we’ve got to talk about how we deal with that, deal with that a little bit better, and that’s something we’ll train on. And also the movement of the ball has to be quicker. There’s too many places where the ball dies as we’re building it through midfield.
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On going 0-3-1 vs. MLS teams: No concerns about that. 2013 we came down here and won the Desert Diamond Cup, and it might have been one of our worst regular seasons. It really doesn’t matter. You look at Major League Baseball, and you look at preseason records and what their records are in the regular season, they have no correlation. Years ago MLS used to have a preseason tournament, and you always knew the team that won the preseason tournament would have no chance at the championship. I don’t worry about that. I know we’ll be ready to go next Sunday. That’s our goal, that’s what we’re focused on.
On if he considers this a championship-or-bust season: I don’t know if you can say championship or bust. We had a great season last year and the MLS Cup is a cup, so you’ve got to hit the right form at the right time. The way the playoffs are now, you can finish in sixth place and win MLS Cup. What we want to do is we want to be a good team, we want to be a team that competes for the Supporters’ Shield, and we want to be a team that competes for MLS Cup. We want to make the playoffs again: We have never missed the playoffs in our existence and we don’t intend to this year.