Here's some of what the opposing coaches had to say Saturday after the Sounders beat Real Salt Lake, 4-0, at CenturyLink Field:
Seattle coach SIGI SCHMID(On the top two teams facing each other…) "It's two teams playing soccer. Obviously they were missing some guys and we were missing some guys, I never think about that or worry about that. It changes the game for sure—sometimes for a positive and sometimes in a negative away. When opportunities are there people step up and do different things."
(On finding passes in the midfield…) "I felt we did a good job at that. Gonzalo Pineda always helps us with that and I thought Marco Pappa had a very good game today. I thought he was excellent and he helped us with those passes in the midfield. I thought we were disjointed at times in the first half when were a little too direct, but in the second half it got a lot better."
(On the performance of Chad Barrett and Kenny Cooper…) "I thought Barrett did well and I thought Cooper did well. Barrett got a goal and he was running early I talked to him to put more pressure on the ball so they couldn't build as easily, and he did a great job at that. When he came out and I thought Kenny played very well also. When you get those kind of shifts it's a good thing."
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(On Pappa's curling free kick goal…) "It was beautiful. We practice them all the time… this year we have a line of like nine guys wanting to take free kicks at practice and Ezra [Hendrickson] usually runs that for me. Today I turned to him and said, 'OK, who are my two?' And he said Pappa from the left and Neagle from the right."
(On players competing all over the field…) "It's what I expected us to do. It's not only our depth; it's our spirit. The guys like each other, the guys work hard for each other, the guys battle for each other. It doesn't matter who is out there on the field. We took (Dylan) Remick and put him at left midfield. We can take guys and put them at different positions and they will do what we need them to do in that particular game for us to be successful. I am very pleased with our depth—it's what we expect—but I am very pleased with our commitment to the game."
(On staying in first place…) "Right now it's not about sending messages, but we're in first place and we wanted to hold onto first place. We've talked about creating some separation there. As a group we are maturing and being able to step into a game between a first place team and a second place team and being able to win with a convincing result speaks volumes for our character."
(On Chad Barrett's role on the team…) "Chad is always a player that I have had a good relationship with since I coached him on the Under 20s. We always joked that one day I would find a way to get him onto a team that I am coaching, and it happened this year. He's an interesting fellow, but he has banged away three goals for us this year and gotten one assist. He's scored some important goals for us and he has that ability and capability. I am very pleased. He's a big addition for us, along with Kenny, because we knew we needed those guys."(On stopping Real Salt Lake's unbeaten streak…) "We talked about it before the game that we wanted to break the streak and keep the record from a couple of people…. It was mainly that we wanted to beat them. It was No. 1 vs. No. 2, and we wanted to show them what we're made of."(On second half adjustments…) "In the second half we talked about possessing the ball a little better. We talked about getting Pappa 20 yards up the field because he was dropping back. We talked about those things and the team executed that fairly well. It was a tight game in the first half as it is when top teams play each other, no team wants to give an inch.)
(On whether or not it should have been a penalty…) "I haven't seen the replay of it… I don't know if it's a PK or not."
(On Stefan Frei posting a shutout…) "Obviously we are happy with the shutout. It's something we talked about it…he was making big saves today and it was a good test for his character to show that he can come back and play well."(On the defensive performance…) "Defensively I thought it was OK. There were still times I wanted to do a little bit better with it, but I think our effort defensively was as good as it's been."
(On Brad Evans' performance…) "I thought Brad did well. He obviously helps us with headers and duels…he picks and chooses his moments well, I thought defensively he did well. The thing he gives you back there is wherever you put him he talks. His talking, organizing, and pushing makes it easier to defend."
(On Martins scoring a late goal…) "I was very happy with Martins. I thought he was snakebit because he had some great chances… for him to come up with that goal was a just reward for the effort he put in. running, playing, moving is something we are always talking about."
(On another sellout crowd…) “I am obviously very happy with that. We go to Chicago next week and won't be home for a while, but we will be super excited to come home in July. I think our next three MLS games are on the road, but we have been a good road team and we got to carry it to the road. But we love playing in front of our home fan—it's fantastic.”
RSL coach JEFF CASSAR(On how he feels the team played…) “To be honest with you, I just told the guys to discount the third and fourth goals because we were pushing and we knew we were going to be exposed at the back. But I thought the commitment level was there. It was a very even match in the first half for sure. Two dead ball situations – the PK and the free kick – then the rest was just breaks on counters. It’s a tough place to play and we don’t have a full arsenal, but I thought the guys out there did a very good job.”
(On the performance of defender Aaron Maund…) “I thought his individual battles were good, but maybe the decision making on a few plays was tough. Obviously the PK call – I don’t feel like it was a PK. Neither does Aaron. Any time you leave your feet, you leave it up to the referee to make that call. I think he was kind of going away from goal a little bit. The counter attack goal, maybe it’s an early foul or stop the play. But I thought he battled through it and it’s about moving on and showing your character. And Aaron has really strong character. It’s about focusing on Columbus now.”
(On the momentum swing following the PK…) “When it’s hard fought, it’s the 42nd minute, it’s a very even match at a tough place to play, then that – it is a little deflating. But I thought our guys came out hungry and were trying to get back in the game. We weren’t accepting 1-0 down, but it just wasn’t our day. Credit to Seattle for capitalizing on our mistakes.”
(On fixing the team’s recent offensive struggles …) “I thought [Olmes] Garcia had a fantastic match – probably his best one of the year, which is really promising. But I thought Chad Marshall was really fantastic for them. He really was working Devon [Sandoval] and making every touch Devon had on the ball extremely hard. He won a lot of aerial battles. Right now it’s about getting our bodies right to get ready for another game on Wednesday and then another game on Saturday so that’s what we’re going to do.”(On the team’s first midweek game and the quick turnaround …) “Like I said, it’s really about taking care of our bodies. Obviously we have 19 healthy bodies right now. It’s definitely not easy, but I know the character in our locker room is extremely strong.”
(On if having a quick turnaround helps wash this one away …) “Absolutely. What I’ve been stressing all along with these guys is we win, great, on to the next game. We lose, OK it sucks, move on to the next game. That’s what we’re going to do – move on to the next game.”
(On his first loss as a head coach …) “I don’t enjoy it. I don’t want it to happen often, but we knew it was going to happen [eventually]. It was a fantastic run that we went on, but I’m trying to make sure the team will react the same way I do – we have work to do and it’s on to the next game.”