Here's that "more" I promised, from coach Sigi Schmid after today's training session:
(On the fitness of Mauro Rosales...) "Mauro is doing well. His knee has been good, which was the original injury that kept him out of a lot of games. Then he took a hit on his ankle, and it always seems when you take a bruise like that...whenever anybody kicks you they kick right on that same spot. So that's happened to him now a couple of games, but it's more just dealing with the pain of that bruise than anything else. Every time after games, the day after he feels better than he felt the day after the game before. He's an important player to our team because of his creative ideas, what he supplies to the team that way, and we hope to get him out there. And obviously now he's getting his game fitness, as well."
(On what he can do to protect Rosales from taking hard shots...) "You try and get him protection. You try and make the referees are aware that he's a gifted player and teams don't take free shots at him around midfield and so forth. Part of it, also, is the way Mauro plays. When Mauro plays, he wears his heart on his sleeve and he gives everything he has. He sometimes goes to confrontations and situations that maybe some other players avoid, as sort of the better part of discretion there at that moment. He only knows how to play one way, and that's full-out. I think that's what endears him to the fans, that's certainly what gains him a lot of points with me, and also with his teammates. That's why he's our team captain-he gives everything he has every time he's on the field."
(On the status of Alvaro Fernandez...) "He's doing well, doing better. It's a difficult [decision] for Wednesday because I think he's really, really close, and it's a matter of us saying, 'Do we play him Wednesday and understand that maybe we have to limit him on Saturday, or do we save him a little bit for Saturday?' That's a decision we're going to make."
Never miss a local story.
(On Bryan Meredith's poise and performance...) "He's pretty sensible, if you can use that word for a goalkeeper...He's pretty calm. It was one of the things we liked about him when we drafted him and when we had him in our combine. We thought he was pretty steady. For me personally, I've always looked for goalkeepers that I think have a good presence in goal, and I think he has a good presence in goal. He looks comfortable, he looks like he belongs there, he looks like he's in control. I think that's very important for the opposition to see that, so I've been very happy with Bryan."
(On if motivation is harder with the team's success...) "No because when you're doing well you want to keep doing well. You don't want to lose that momentum. With the results that happened this weekend-for us obviously with Kansas City losing at home and LA losing at home, as well, and San Jose going up and getting beat on a last-second goal by Vancouver-for our team ambitions in terms of maybe moving ourselves to the top of the overall table, that's something that's there within grasp now. And I think the guys see that. They see our point total, they see how many games we've played, and they see what the other teams have. There's a lot at stake, and the three prizes that we haven't won yet in the league is winning our conference, winning the Supporter's Shield, and obviously winning MLS Cup. If we can knock off a couple of those this year we'll be happy."
(On FC Dallas not having Daniel Hernandez or Blas Perez...) "Obviously Blas has really helped them-I think he's got like three goals and three assists. Daniel Hernandez being a co-coach, or an assistant coach and a player, he's very important to their team. I think they become a little more athletic without Daniel on there, but Daniel is the guy who's the brains in that operation. He keeps everybody else organized, keeps everyone else disciplined as they need to be. He's an important part of it. Perez has done well for them. He's a big striker, he's got three goals and three assists, and he's somebody they're going to miss because they don't really have another guy who can play up there like him. It changes how they play a little bit."
(On using defenders Marc Burch and Leo Gonzalez as substitutes for midfielders...) "It's in situations where we're trying to protect the lead and so forth. When Leo's out there, we like bringing Burch on there because he's a pretty good passer of the ball...It gives us another player with a little bit of size so when games go late and you're challenging for crosses off corners and free kicks, it makes it a little easier for your team. If we're chasing it, it's probably a different sub."
(On the defense, which leads MLS in goals-against average) "I think overall as a team we're playing good defense. I think everybody has to be a part of it. The forwards are part of it in terms of how they force the opponent out of the back, which side of the field they force them to. The midfielders tucking in, the wide-guys getting back at the right times. I think we've also done a great job of getting in front of the ball. When teams are close to our 18...I think we've blocked a lot of shots. There's a lot of shots that we've blocked. There's a lot of things we've gotten in the way of. There's a lot of things where a team thinks they've got an opening and they're through, and all of a sudden our defenders recover, so now they have to come back and do something else, so we've altered their plans a little bit. That's a reflection of just commitment and hard work. Overall as a group they've all played well."