The Sounders are off the CenturyLink pitch, two days before they will return to meet Tottenham Hotspur. Here is some of what coach Sigi Schmid had to say after the session.
On Thursday training: It was good. Our rhythm this week is a little bit different because we played the game on Sunday, and Tuesday was sort of a (regeneration) training. So today we played a little bit of 11v11, but we felt it was better just to make it a little smaller, let them get some touches. That’s what we did today, so it was good.
On if they 7-0 loss to Manchester United in 2011 will alter the Sounders' approach: Nothing from my behalf. It’s just a situation of the timing of the game and how it fits into your schedule. Obviously this is one where we don’t have a league game until a week later, and so it allows us to put our players on the field. There are maybe certain guys that we maybe don’t want to put as many minutes on as some others. There’s also some guys that we haven’t been able to play that we can maybe step on the field and see where they’re at. SO there might be a few tweaks to what was our starting lineup in the last game, but in general I think that’s the lineup you’ll see. I think maybe the Man U game was just one of those one-offs with maybe the timing of the game, where it occurred, and us maybe trying to get everybody onto the field to have the experience and them bringing on some subs that were a lot better than our subs, so it got out of hand. I think this will be a very competitive match.
On if he still wants to get everyone on: Not now. Not necessarily. Again, the Man U match was about getting everybody on, but it was also about resting some people because we had games coming up and a league game coming up. From that standpoint, that’s not the demand or the urgency. There will be some guys who will be playing 90 minutes, for sure.
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Sounders veteran Brad Evans was on the pitch for the second half of that Man U game, when the Sounders gave up six goals. He was asked what he remembers from that experience:
"Oh yeah, that one," he said. "That was a long time ago. Honestly, I don’t remember much about that game. We played 45 minutes maybe. I think I came on at the end. I think over the years we’ve learned that we want to have a good showing, and that probably means having our best 11 available for as long as possible. If the guys are playing good and feeling well, you kind of get a feel for it at halftime maybe. That game obviously was embarrassing to say the least, and I think we’ve come a long way since then in our mentality with these games and how we’re going to approach it."
On how that approach changes: I think you just have to take it more seriously. At the end of the day, it’s a friendly game, we’re in midseason, you don’t want to get guys hurt. But at the same time, we’re playing in a rhythm now and it’s good to keep the rhythm going: Saturday, Saturday, Monday. Anytime you take too much time off you kind of get nipped in the bud a little bit, and I think the last time this year we had time off I think it was good to get that Open Cup game in to get the legs wet before we started the second half of the MLS season.
On judging preseason EPL vs. midseason MLS teams: At the end of the day it’s about us and the people who come out to the games and support us week in and week out. It’s unfair to keep comparing ourselves to other leagues and trying to find where we fit in: Are we No. 15 in the EPL? Are we No. 8? Whatever it is, let’s just do what we do here and do it well. At the end of the day, we’re playing for an MLS Cup, this is our league and we should be focused on what’s going on here. If we win (Saturday) 5-0 or we lose 5-0, that’s not a telling tale of what we’ve done this season so far. The mindset is definitely a little bit different. When you’re focused on a rivalry game with Portland it’s going to be way different from a friendly against Tottenham. That’s the reality. But obviously you still want to have a good showing, and I think we’ve got enough character here to put in a good game on Saturday.
Even at that, on if there's just an element of fun in playing an EPL team: Absolutely. I think playing against Chelsea was a good one. I thought our team in the first 45 minutes played phenomenal against Chelsea. We were passing the ball, creating chances, scored a couple of goals. Once guys start to have fun and loosen up a little bit I think you start to see better soccer vs. ‘Oh we need to beat this team today.’ It’s a balancing act of having fun while also taking the game serious, because you don’t want to have people watching on TV and have you wiped across the board. Obviously, that’s not fun, to lose games. Nobody wants to lose games, whether you’re playing in training or you’re playing Tottenham. But it’s a good balancing act of having fun, but also getting some work out of it because we face in my mind probably the second-best team aside from us in the league right now in LA. I think they’re playing phenomenal right now, and they’re going to be looking to make up games, so that’s going to be our focus after this game.