Here's what Sounders coach Sigi Schmid had to say tonight after his club's 5-1 win over Atlanta to open play in the U.S. Open Cup:
Opening: It’s always a lot more fun when you score goals. It makes this a lot easier. Getting the goal early in the second half helped us. And then the response after their goal – Caskey’s response right away – was what I think really finished the game off. And then after that I think we were a little bit unlucky not to get more. Their keeper came up with some big saves. Cato hits the post – he probably deserved a goal for his efforts tonight. But I was pleased with what the guys did, and it was good to see them score goals.
On the first half of play…) “Well, we got chances. I think Eddie Johnson had a really good look on a ball by [Cordell] Cato. We had the one that Ozzie [Alonso] hit – the question was whether the goalkeeper touched the ball out of the box or inside the box on that one, but that was definitely going. We had a couple opportunities as well where we were around and our shots, or just our final pass weren’t that good. But we were putting pressure on and definitely you just felt it was a matter of time.”
On Sammy Ochoa making the most of his minutes tonight…) “Definitely. Obviously, Ochoa – I don’t know if he can remember the last time he scored two goals with his left foot in a game, because he got them both with his left. They were well finished, both goals. That’s the way he can play. We just need him to come out like that all the time. It was a good opportunity for him. I thought Cordell [Cato] did very well. I thought Alex Caskey played very well, [Alex] Rose continues to do well for us all the time, so it was a good performance by those guys and they took their opportunity well.”
(On if he thought they could open up the game after that first goal was scored…) “Yeah, you’re hoping so. Sometimes you’re a little hesitant because that one doesn’t seem to come right away. The timing of the one from Andy [Rose] right before halftime was really important as well for us, so that sort of set things up for the second half.”
(On what it will take for Sammy Ochoa to gain playing time in MLS…) “It’s just consistency of training habits. It’s not always fitness. It’s frustrating sometimes when you’re having to train and you don’t always get into games and you haven’t had a lot of reserve games. It gets frustrating and sometimes you’ve got to be a special person to sort of push through that and continue to perform every day at practice. Obviously, [David] Estrada has done well up front and he’s gotten goals and [Fredy] Montero and Eddie Johnson got some goals there, so it was hard to break past those guys as well.”
(On if the Sounders lineup changed tonight based on the many MLS teams that lost their Open Cup games yesterday…) “No. We didn’t have [Patrick] Ianni. We didn’t have [Adam] Johansson. We didn’t have [Leo] Gonzales. We didn’t play [Brad] Evans, we didn’t play [Alvaro] Fernandez, we didn’t play [Mauro] Rosales, we didn’t play Fredy [Montero]. So I don’t think anybody can complain and say, ‘Oh, they just brought out a heavy team.’ We brought out who we had to play in the back and then in our front six we brought out five guys with fresh legs to get out there and play. Ozzie [Alonso] hadn’t played the last game, so it was an opportunity for him to play. I think it’s a reflection of the depth of this team, and [Michael] Gspurning – we haven’t talked about him. So right there you’re adding up eight players and I think any of those eight could replace those guys that are on the field and we could keep the same rhythm and that’s the thing that hurt us toward the end of that phase where we struggled a little bit in the league.”