Here's some of what the Sounders had to say after opening U.S. Open Cup play with a 5-0 win over amateur side PSA Elite on Wednesday at Starfire:
Sigi Schmid - Seattle Sounders FC Head Coach(Opening Statement...) "Obviously we weren't happy with the way we started Open Cup last year, so we wanted to make sure we got off to a better start this year. Playing at home is certainly easier, but we wanted to make sure we go with a strong defensive group, experienced defensive group, then give some a chance [to play] and rest some of the other guys. Overall I was pleased. We wanted to have a little bit of a bigger team to take advantage of some set pieces, because we know they weren't an overly big team, and it's a small field. Cooper's first goal with Evans was a great combination."
(On the team's approach to the game...) "Mentality is important, but also lineup-wise. I looked at the games yesterday and wrote down for myself how many teams used starters, guys from their 18, and guys from outside their 18. For example, D.C. used a lot of guys outside their 18 and only one starter, and they were one team that got beat. I know the weather was bad and so forth, but a lot of the other teams went with a lot of starters, at least 50 percent of the starting lineup. Hahnemann is a good goalkeeper so I don't consider him a sub in that sense, but we had three starters in the back, plus Evans, and if Cooper is a starter or not a starter that is five. I think that's what you have to have-mentality and experience on the field."
(On the team's fitness...) "It's hard work. When you give a team time off-we gave our team five days off-and then you train for four days, you're back into the rhythm, and it's always harder. It's harder on you physically than a game normally is. Our guys' heart rates are here, then it drops a little bit, and it drops. It's the same thing in a game, because you're out of the rhythm of playing games. Maybe it was a little bit of fatigue, but also our expectation going into the game was a game we wanted to win and we talked about not allowing them to hang around [by] getting some goals in the first half and putting it away."
(On moving forward to the next round...) "We got to step around now and play next Tuesday. We are going to play San Jose and San Jose is going to come with the bruise brothers up front, so on that field it is going to be a smash, smash game, and you're probably going to see two teams coming out with first team lineups. Because they haven't played, how much do you throw into that? We got the league opener again next Saturday, so those are things we have to weigh going into next Saturday."
(On the performance of Aaron Kovar...) I thought Aaron was good. He drew the penalty for us, hit the corner kick that set up another goal, he was on our free kicks-I thought he played well. I thought he got into the flow of the game and it was a good opportunity for him. He stepped up and rose to the occasion. [...] Any time you get into games it helps. It was good for him because he's been playing a lot of left back at times for us on the reserves team, and for us he's been able to play midfield and that's where he played today. That's still his best position. [...] He's definitely coming along. Maybe compare Aaron more to Dylan Remick. As the season went along he [Remick] unfortunately got injured at a bad time because I thought he was ready to step in, but I kept talking to him, felt confident, and he's shown this year he is ready to play MLS. And I think Aaron's the same. I think he has made great strides playing with the reserve guys. He will continue to build. He's got Marco Pappa in front of him right now, but he is a Marco Pappa-type of player. He can play with that sort of skillset as Marco plays, and he's a guy who will continue to get minutes as we move forward."
(On tonight's lineup...) "On defense we didn't have many options. [...] We wanted to have a veteran presence in the midfield tonight. [...] We pushed Evans from playing left back to midfield tonight. The other guys we wanted to rest-we felt Evans was a little more ready to go tonight than say Pineda and Alonso. When we had the chance to get Evans off after 60 [minutes] we did."
(On having five Seattle area players on the field...) "I think that's great for all of the kids in the area playing soccer, they know there is a path. We have a Seattle guy in the World Cup as well. For them to know there is a path there and opportunities will come, that's fantastic. That's what you want to do, grow your own community, and I think that's a great thing.
Zach Scott - Seattle Sounders FC Defender (On the team's performance...) "I thought it was a very-Kenny [Cooper] said it perfectly-a workman-like effort. It can be easy to let your guard down against a team like this, and in the beginning we were frustrated because they kept us wide, so it was difficult to cover the penetrating balls. Once we kept possession with the intent of getting behind them we did a good job and the goals started to come. The biggest thing was to get a zero on the board-we didn't want them to get any confidence, and they did a great job of defending well first."
(On the longstanding streak of wins at Starfire...) "I think that's completely valid. It is a tough place to play-we love playing here. A reserve game is one thing, but it is a completely different atmosphere. We love playing in a packed CenturyLink Field, but this is just as fun."
(On Kenny Cooper's overhead kick goal...) "That was a nice goal, a really nice goal. He is a pretty agile guy for a big dude, so I was happy he tucked that one away."
(On his goal...) "Not much to it. Kovar swings in a really good ball and it's about being in the right place. I didn't even really try to direct it, I tried to deflect it more than anything else. I didn't see it go in, I just heard everyone cheer, so that was kind of nice."
(On getting another victory...) "Winning is winning. It's been fun to watch soccer on TV, but even more fun to get back out there with your friends. I've been excited to get some rest, but also get these Open games in. It gave a lot of guys an opportunity to get some minutes in."
Kenny Cooper - Seattle Sounders FC Forward (On playing in front of a sellout crowd...) "It's awesome. Any time you can play in front of a full stadium-whether it is 40,000 or 5,000-it is so much fun with the atmosphere they create. It's so fun, such a privilege. I think even their team [PSA Elite] appreciated it."
(On his bicycle-kick goal...) "Cam [Weaver] may have challenged the keeper, Zach may have challenged the keeper. They did the dirty work and I was able to get my foot on it."
(On Kovar's performance and team depth...) "I thought he did great. Sean [Okoli], [David] Estrada, everyone put in a professional, hard-working, quality performance. That's what it takes in the league and Open Cup, and I think we reap the rewards of the quality effort. It's such a deep team and we all have a lot of confidence in the starting 11 and whoever steps in."
(On following other clubs' performance in Open Cup...) "I look around. I am a big soccer nerd so I look around the league and the World Cup, so I think you see a lot time the upsets that happen, and for any team the game is important, there is always something important. I think everyone in the squad handled it really professionally and it was a great result for us tonight."
Aaron Kovar - Sounders FC Midfielder(Thoughts on game...) "I was just glad to help the team out today, whether it was crossing or trying to get in set pieces and stuff. It's not very hard to hit corners when you have guys like Zach [Scott], Cam [Weaver] and Kenny Cooper; big targets and I just put it in an area where they could get to it."
(Thoughts on the season so far...) "It's an adjustment and you just kind of have to realize that you're part of a team and in this team you can't really complain because the first team is winning and we're in first place. So I feel really blessed to be a part of that and I know my time will come but it definitely more of patient thing than if I was at other clubs because we have so many good players from top to bottom on this team. You see a lot of guys that aren't not playing this year and they were playing every minute and every game last year for their MLS team. This is so much talent but that also makes it so much more of a competitive training environment so even if I'm not getting as many games I'm getting a lot better every day."
(On his loan to OC Blues...) "Yeah, it was definitely helpful. It was the MLS break which was nice because I felt that Sean [Okoli] and I weren't missing anything here. It was nice to be able to go and get two games in. We came back and felt sharp this week I'm just glad we was able to get three points today and move on in the tournament."
(On playing a more attacking role...) "Yeah, I definitely felt more comfortable playing left mid but again it's a team sport so if I'm asked to play in the back I'll play in the back. So it's kind of whatever they need from me but I definitely prefer playing higher up the field closer to the goal."