Here's some of the wide-ranging topics covered by Sounders coach Sigi Schmid after training today at Starfire:
On the 2-1 win at Chicago and the game Wednesday vs. LA...) "It's always good to get a win. It's good to get a win on the road, for sure. This game on Wednesday is an important game. We get measured against LA often enough-by you guys in the press and by ourselves, as well. It's been a one-sided relationship in the last year to two years, but we need to turn it around. I'm confident in this team. We're looking forward to this game Wednesday. It's going to be a great game."
On getting the first goal on Saturday...) "First goal is important, not just in that game, first goal is important in every game. We were a team that did a great job last year coming back from a deficit. We're glad we're not putting ourselves in that position because that's a test that eventually you lose. The first goal is important in any game. It's going to be an intense matchup [on Wednesday] for sure because these are two quality teams."
On the Galaxy...) "LA had a long season last year and, like us, they began early. They probably played more games in their preseason than we did and maybe that affected them going into the season. They are a veteran group. They're a group with a lot of experience. They're a group of World Cup players that have played prominent roles for their countries. As a result of that you can never look at the record and say that's a reflection of the team. The team is a reflection of their individuals and they've got some very, very good individuals."
On if he has to make sure they don't get too fired up for the game...) "No. I'm happy with us getting fired up. We'll take all the fire we can get and I don't think you can get too fired up for that. We're a team that's been very consistent over our first three years and we've started off this season alright, as well, and we just want to take it to that next level. Winning games of this magnitude is something that will help us get to that level."
On looking at previous games against LA to see how they can improve...) "When you look at the Galaxy and over the years when I've played against a Bruce Arena-coached team, they're always good offensively. So they're going to get some chances, either off the counter-attack or off the speed he puts together up front, and he's got the same thing again now. Generally, you'll get some chances, as well. When you look at our games against LA we've had chances, they've had chances. With the exception of the one game-the four-nothing game-in every other game it was a matter of them being able to finish a chance or getting a great goal like [Edson] Buddle's...and us not finishing the chances that we had...I think it's going to be a good offensive game, it's going to be a game where both teams will get opportunities, and it might come down to which team can finish better."
On the Galaxy's early defensive struggles and not having Omar Gonzalez...) "The adaptation of Omar not being there, Josh Saunders is now the number-one goalkeeper where, even though he almost got a full season in last year, [Donovan] Ricketts was always there. Sometimes that changes your perspective a little bit-everybody getting used to each other. Omar was very important to them offensively because he created a lot of stuff for them off their set pieces. He would be the focal point and other people would get open as a result of that. And as well defensively-they were used to him being able to win those headers, to clean up some tackles, and to make big plays that help turn a game at key moments. Yeah, I think missing Omar had an impact on them."
On Eddie Johnson's first goal...) "It was good. I'm happy when anyone gets a goal, but for sure his first goal and being able to get on the scoreboard was very important. I think he's getting his timing down, his fitness is coming along. It's been a long time since he's played 90 minutes in a competitive match, he got very close to it in this one. Maybe he went beyond it with the extra time. It's now a matter of your fine-timing doesn't really come until you get enough games. I think it's going to take three, four, five games for that to happen, but as long as he stays injury-free and continues to work hard, I think we'll see more goals from him."
On the importance of depth with the upcoming schedule...) "Depth is important. That's something we talked about this morning as a coaching staff. The game with LA on Wednesday, we're really coming off the same cycle as them, so we've got the same amount of rest as that they have. It's more the game on Saturday that you look at because Philly will have had the whole week off. We have to look at our players individually, see how they're doing. See how [Mauro] Rosales is doing-he got a knock...[Adam] Johansson, who played a really strong 90 minutes in Chicago, where he's at. Can he come back right away? Those will be decisions that we'll make tomorrow. We need to give people the day today. Depth should help us. I think we've played a number of different combinations in the back and we've been able to solve most of the dilemmas people have presented to us with whoever is out there. We're confident we can play other people and not miss a beat in terms of our performance."
On the status of Alvaro Fernandez...) "Flaco's coming along. He's making strides. He was better today and, again, we're going to see how he feels tomorrow. I was just talking to him and Wednesday, for sure, has not been ruled out for him. That's the goal that we're looking at, is for him to be able to play Wednesday whether that's as a starter or off the bench. It's a decision we'll probably make tomorrow after training."