Some of the news from today's Sounders training is already accounted for in posts below. However, here's some more of what coach Sigi Schmid had to say on a variety of topics:
On the importance of Thursday's game at RSL: "It's a big game. It's obviously a big game. I know during the season you guys like to say, 'This has got to be a must-win game.' Thursday is a must-win game. It's a definite must-win game. Whether you win it on PK's, whether you win it in overtime, whether you win it one-nothing, or whether you win it three to two, it doesn't matter. It's a game you have to win at the end of the day. We felt good about how we played in the last game, we felt confident with the chances we created, we think we didn't give away too much. There are things, obviously, that we look at-a few things this morning on tape. We'll look at a few things more. There are things I think we can do better offensively a little bit, there are things we can do better defensively, and it goes from there. You saw in the games over the weekend-you saw in our game two great goalkeepers, then you saw some goalkeeper mistakes happen over the weekend. That's the way it goes. Then you saw a great goal from Adam Moffat, a little bit reminiscent of the goal Buddle got against us here that one year. And you don't know what turns a game like that. You look at the KC-Houston game, it's an even game and a guy scores a great goal, all of a sudden the game tips. San Jose-LA is an even game, then there's a little guffaw at the end and the game is over. We just have to avoid those mistakes and hope that those big moments happen for us."
On if the MLS Cup Playoffs should adopt the away-goal tiebreaker for aggregate series: "I'm a big fan of the away goal rule. It's just something I've grown up with in European soccer having followed it all those years. I think it's something that is present in our Champions League, it's something I think the soccer fans in this country understand now. What I really think it does is it really puts a little emphasis on being able to score goals on the road. New York [would know] now that zero-zero gets them through because they picked up a goal on the road. It gets you on the road a little bit more, maybe, offensively inclined than you would be otherwise. From that standpoint I think it's a positive. Is it the end of the world not to have it? No."
On RSL having nine regulars who played for their 2009 MLS Cup winning team: "They have a very good understanding of each other. That group has played an awful lot of games together, so when you look at a midfield group and they're able to start -- Beckerman, Grabavoy, Johnson, and Morales -- I haven't added it up, but I have to figure they've at least had 100 games-plus as a group. That's a little different. When you look at our midfield group and you look at Evans, Tiffert, Rosales, and Alonso and say, 'How many games have they had as a group of four?' Maybe six, five, something like that. It's a big difference, that familiarity, so there's a little bit of an awareness that grows off of each other and you know where each other are. That's something that's there...it makes them tough, it makes them a team you have to work hard against, but it certainly doesn't make them unbeatable. As I said after the game, they're a quality team, we're a quality team, it's going to be a close series."
Never miss a local story.
On the importance of the previous matchups with RSL over the last two years: "All the games help prepare you because it's more things that you can look back upon, that you can look at, that a player knows that he was in this particular situation. So they all prepare you in a way, but it's not like this moment in this game or doing this, that's now the key to being able to win this playoff game. The key is execution. You have to execute well, you have to do what we do well. We asked the team to be dangerous on set pieces in the first game, and we were. That's something we have to do again. We asked them to make sure they weren't dangerous on set pieces, and we did a good job of that. It's all about execution and we have to continue to execute well and create chances, and we'll be OK."