Here's some of what Sounders coach Sigi Schmid had to say after the Sounders' 2-0 win over Portland tonight:
Sigi Schmid – Seattle Sounders FC Head Coach(Opening Statement…) "I thought it was a pretty even game in the first half. I thought in the second half we stepped up the tempo a little bit. We really talked about trying to get our left back (Jalil) Anibaba forward, as well as DeAndre (Yedlin), which we did. We had an early chance off the header with (Gonzalo) Pineda off his cross. Seeing Oba (Martins) and his quickness really helped us as well, it put more pressure on the back. We talked about playing a little more direct at times, which we did, just making sure we don't get caught on the counter. I thought the second half for us was pretty much our game. There were a couple times in the second half where they were close, but I thought Stefan (Frei) was solid when those things got presented and (Donovan) Ricketts was probably the Man of the Match today because he had some big saves where he got his body in front of him….I was very happy with the way our team played. I was a little surprised at how many minutes we got out of Clint (Dempsey) as we did, that was over and beyond the call of duty. It was great to have those guys back."
(On not playing Leo Gonzalez and Brad Evans…) "Leo felt a little bit of a tweak in his hamstring again so we decided to back off with him. Brad had taken a knock on the knee in the game on Wednesday and it just didn't improve, so he feels much better today but not where he could have played. Hopefully he feels better by the time we play Tottenham, and certainly by the time we play LA."
(On bringing Obafemi Martins into the second half…) "One of the thought processes for me was wanting to get Oba onto the field earlier than I normally sub because when Oba is on the field he and Clint have such a good understanding together. When they are on the field I figured they could get some minutes—at least 15 or 20 minutes together—and they kept going. It worked out alright."
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(On maintaining focus in a challenging week…) "We get two wins in one week against Portland. We advance in the Open Cup—we are certainly happy about that. But I am just happy at the way our team responded to the challenges of the week. It was a difficult game on Wednesday—120 minutes and then [they] came up to the challenge and responded with a win at home. Obviously Vancouver was last weekend and we started that off and had to come back from that as well, but I think psychologically we dealt well with that—we got focused, we got forward and we were able to continue to have that good spirit of a team that has helped us all season."
(On halftime adjustments…) "At halftime we talked about times where we could get more direct and play more forward. I think we felt we could play behind (Michael) Harrington and (Jorge) Villafana a little bit, and get into those channels. We also wanted to get our backs up a little bit more to tie up their wingers, having to defend. As you saw they took (Diego) Valeri out, maybe because they had to play a little more defense than they expected, especially with Jalil (Anibaba) pushing forward."
(On scoring chances…) "I thought we had a number of good looks. You look at the number of looks Lamar Neagle had, that Marco Pappa had, Clint and Oba were there a couple times and just missed by a fraction."
(On resting Dempsey for a week…) "I think we did the right thing by giving Clint the week off. It gave him time to spend with his family. You look around the league and some guys on teams that are struggling, those guys got right back into the mix to be good teammates…I think we made the right decision, DeAndre had some time off, and he will have a few more days off after the Tottenham game, because I think you need to do that. Clint felt fresh when he came back…and DeAndre is a young kid and doesn't know how to feel yet."
(On Marco Pappa's performance…) "I am very happy when I see Marco play well, and I think he is continuing to grow with this team and as a player. You see him taking more responsibility on his shoulders in key moments…I see his game continuing to grow and develop. There's some good, good defensive moments he's given us on the flank, and that was never considered a trait of Marco’s. He's on the field because he helps our attack, not because we want him to be a great left side defender, but he's got to do some of that work and has really grown as a player. He has found a mix and he knows how to find those pockets of space, which are really important."
(On the return of injured players…) "We want to stay in rhythm. We obviously had the World Cup, and a couple of Open Cup games spliced in there, but certainly we want to stay in rhythm and keep people healthy. We got Dylan Remick back on the field—we hope in the next couple of weeks we have Leo Gonzalez to choose from again and Brad Evans will be back into the field, that Djimi Traore and Remick will be healthy. That will make us stronger for the stretch run."
(On positioning in the standings…) "I don't even look. I just look at our own points and I'm happy to see us continue to get points. I am happy we have been really solid at home—at the start of the season we really struggled at home—and since then we have kept getting points and hopefully one day we will look at the standings and say, 'Hey, we have qualified for the playoffs.' For now it's about continuing to play well and get a clean sheet. I know that a lot of people—this is my last diatribe—have said the defense [has not been very strong]. When you look at the numbers now, there are only three or four teams in the league that have a better goals against average than we do. Now our defense doesn't look as bad, where we had taken some goals and scored some goals with our style of play, but also figuring out how to get zero’s on the other end of the field."
(On offensive adjustments…) "I think we also did a better job offensively. I think we let them control bigger segments of the game down there and today was more of an even first half and in the second half we were more effective."
(On defensive improvement…) "All of us are defending better. It's not just the defenders, but the midfielders and their understanding. I thought Osvaldo Alonso and Gonzalo Pineda did a great job of finding (Darlington) Nagbe and (Diego) Valeri, who they were trying to push into that hole behind them, and that's something we haven't always done the way we need to, and I thought they were excellent."
(On winning in front of a huge crowd…) "Our guys enjoy playing here. For Chad Marshall—his first year here—and just the excitement he feels stepping onto the field. Our crowd is fantastic. We enjoy playing here. I think the crowd pushes them on, they don't want to disappoint those people. As an athlete you just rise above yourself a little bit. It helps the opponent a bit because they get excited, but our team really has taken it to heart that when those people come they want them to keep coming back, and we are going to put on our best performance and play with a heart and desire."
(On Germany winning the World Cup and Sounders beating Timbers on same day) "I am very happy. I am very, very happy. It was a great day."