The Sounders trained today at Qwest, where they will meet D.C. United on Thursday.
While lots of the players were asked about their World Cup plans, and representatives of the Nothing But Nets anti-malaria campaign were also on hand, most of the questions for coach Sigi Schmid were straightforwardly aimed at DCU.
On final match before World Cup break: “Well, definitely we want to do well in this game. What we did against New England was just one game. It was just one step so we have got to take a lot more steps to get ourselves back to where we want to be. But the spirit of the squad is good. I thought training today was good, the finishing was sharp. If we can continue to build upon what we did on Saturday, we will be OK.”
On the DC defense: “Well, you make note of it but obviously, even at home last Saturday, they had a cautious game plan. So they put a lot of people behind the ball. They are really trying to limit the space that they leave behind their defense. From that standpoint, they make it difficult for you to attack and that’s sort of been the change they have undertaken over the last four or five games and that’s why they have been also rewarded with some results because they just made it harder for teams to beat them.”
Overview on United: “D.C. obviously they have got a big striker in [Danny] Allsopp, sometimes [Adam] Cristman plays there, too. [Santino] Quaranta is back on the field for them. He’s got some cleverness and ingenuity and can open people up that way. [Chris] Pontius is a very hardworking player on the outside. The middle of their defense, when [Dejan] Jakovic and [Juan Manuel] Pena’s in there, we’re not sure if Pena’s going to play, is pretty solid; a lot of experience. I think with Jakovic he is a good, young, Canadian international, and with [Troy] Perkins they have an experienced goalkeeper. So they are a good team down the middle of the field but they are a team that hasn’t gotten a lot of results this year and as a result, they have been searching for their confidence. But as of late, they have gotten good results so their confidence has gotten better.”
On former Sounders and current D.C. United midfielder Stephen King: “It’s good. I’m very happy for Stephen because we thought he was a good player. That’s why we had him here. He wasn’t ahead of some of the guys in my mind but he is certainly a quality player and we felt he would get an opportunity to play at D.C. and it’s worked out well for him.”
On United midfielder/forward Andy Najar: “He is a very talented young player. He is quick. He’s light on his feet. He likes to take players on. He plays with a lot of confidence for a kid his age, similar I think to Miguel Montaño. He plays with a lot of energy and he plays with a lot of confidence.”