Recent practices have generally coincided with the end of each day’s first World Cup game and the start of the second, but most players and coaches have been watching when they can.
“It’s nice just to sit back as a fan and just get excited and just put your hands to your face when they make dumb plays and exalt when they make good plays,” coach Sigi Schmid said. “To me, every four years I think this is the best time.”
Looking on with particular interest Friday was veteran defender Leo Gonzalez of Costa Rica, whose homeland advanced to the knockout stage with a 1-0 win over Italy.
Gonzalez watched the start of the match from the Sounders’ locker room area, but he was on the practice pitch when the final whistle blew.
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“Some guy on the team told me we won,” he said. “Enjoy the moment. … Hopefully they do very good against England and finish that part of the tournament with confidence.”
Here's our full story on the topic, and below some Sounders' quotes on this World Cup:SCHMIDOn CONCACAF's early success: It just shows we’re not the minnows that everybody thinks we are. I think that already was proven out when Sven-Goran Ericksson came to coach Mexico, and when he went through qualifying with Mexico and ended up going to places like going down to Honduras, playing in Costa Rica and El Salvador and he realized how difficult that is. Those aren’t easy places to go to and get results, so qualifying is harder than people assume in our region; but also there’s quality players here. People don’t give us enough respect. … People build up the thing where people from this country are good or players from this country are good. I think sometimes the opportunities have been presented enough. Costa Rica has really improved as well with a lot of players going to Scandinavia and places like that and have basically become more hardened, more disciplined in their style of play.
On if players benefit by watching: You always benefit. Every time you’re watching you see something. Even if you’re watching as a fan you see something or you watch a guy do something, or you see where he positions himself. If you’re still a young player – we’ve got some young guys on our team – they should be watching guys that play their position and trying to get a feel of what are certain things they do at certain times and in certain situations. There’s always opportunities to learn.
On Gonzalez pulling for Costa Rica: I had to massage him when he was watching the first half of the game, massage his shoulders because he was a little tense there. Everybody’s nationality comes out when you’re watching. Even if you’re watching to learn like we talked about earlier, but you really watch as a fan a lot of times. And that’s fun. When you’re watching MLS games, for me, you’re always, ‘OK, what is this team doing? What do I have to prepare for? Blah, blah, blah, blah.’ Or you’re watching our team, and OK what did we do right, what did we do wrong.
OBAFEMI MARTINSI’m watching a few of the games. I think it’s really exciting. It’s surprising as well. … I think I’m a fan of soccer, so I enjoy it.
Rookie FABIO PEREIRA, a native of BrazilMy whole family is back in Brazil. They got to go to some games. My dad and mybrother went to the opening game against Croatia. We won – I won’t say anything else about it. I’m really enjoying watching the World Cup there, and hoping Brazil can pull it out. (I'm watching with) a little bit of pride and a little bit of embarrassment at the same time – the situation of the country. Brazil has a lot of issues, but I don’t want to talk about that. At the end of the day the World Cup is there and hopefully no problems happen and Brazil can win the whole thing.