Very interesting story today from Aaron Fentress of the Oregonian, in which Timbers coach John Spencer gets on Sounders coach Sigi Schmid for what he took to be excuses after the clubs' 1-1 draw Saturday at Qwest Field.
Here's a key paragraph:
“I’m disappointed with their assessment of the game,” Spencer said Tuesday. “But then that’s their prerogative. I think if it is too wet up there for them to play soccer then they may want to move that franchise because it (rains) nearly every time I’ve been in Seattle. Obviously to say that the conditions suit us more than they suit them just blows me away. It seems to me they had 50 excuses before the game written down as to why they never beat us 3 or 4 nil at home.”
“I thought we dominated the game and it was probably the most quietest I’ve been on the sideline since the start of the season because never once did I feel we were in any trouble of losing the game at all,” he said. “The next time we go up there we’ll take plenty of towels for them so we can dry off the field before the game. Maybe take plenty of tissue paper so they can dry their eyes after the game.”
“We’ve always said from day 1 that they arrived in Portland, ‘don’t make excuses,'” Spencer said. “’If you’re out there and you’re on the field and wearing a Portland Timbers jersey we expect you to play well and win the game. Different teams maybe have different philosophies, I don’t know.”
And below are some of Sigi Schmid's postgame comments that apparently drew Spencer's attention:
"Not pleased from the standpoint that we had the lead and we gave them a goal back. Their game is predicated around free kicks and set pieces. That's what their danger is. That's what they live for. The referee gave them quite a few. It seemed like our fouls happened for us on our (defensive) end of the field and theirs happened on their (offensive) end of the field. At the end of the day, we have to defend those things and we have to take care of that business. Losing a player like Evans changes it and losing (Erik) Friberg as we prepare for the game certainly changes things as well for us. You add it up and you have Friberg, (Brad) Evans, O'Brian White, (Mauro) Rosales, (Steve) Zakuani, that's a lot of pieces to be missing where they're not really missing any pieces.
"It's hard in this weather and I think the weather suited them a little bit more in the sense that they go direct and try to knock it up to their big men and they were a bit better at that than we were. At the start of the second half we did a decent job. That's the reason I thought we got the goal and we were around it a couple of times, but we need to finish it off."
"I don't know if it's a rivalry on the pitch that make it physical. I think it was physical because that's the nature of their game. You don't see their goalkeeper throw the ball out and they're not going to build. Everything is either a punt or a goal kick. As a result, the ball's in the air, and they run guys outside in. Maybe I saw wrong, but you have guys on their team sometimes jumping and not even seeing where the ball is, just jumping in the air against our guys. So that was the physical side of the game tonight. It was a lot of contesting balls in the air. It's a lot of headers, it's a lot of knockdowns, it's a lot of second balls. I don't think that was because of the rivalry, it was because of the way they play."