Seattle coach Sigi Schmid was standing in the exact same place he stood last year after Portland eliminated the Sounders from the playoffs. But this time he was talking after a 4-2 win over the Timbers, which raised Seattle atop the MLS and Cascadia Cup standings.
Here's his opening statement:
Obviously our team went out there with an attitude. We wanted to make this statement that this was not last year, not déjà vu. I thought we started off the game very well. I thought we were good the first 20 minutes. Once we got into the lead, they’re a team that obviously is fighting for their playoff lives, so they started to throw everything at us. We scored a good goal on a counter against the run, but we knew we were going to get counter opportunites. That was something we were planning for. Obviously they kept the pressure on in the second half because they’re a desperate team, and we did a good job of finishing again, a couple of counter-attacking opportunities and some good combinations, so I’m very pleased with our attitude and the result today.
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On relaying instructions to his team after going up 2-0:“We were just saying to sit. They were getting chances because sometimes our two midfielders would both go forward and [Gastón] Fernández cheats; he doesn’t defend. So he just sits in that hole and we had to make sure that someone would be aware of him there because we didn’t want our center back stepping up that high.”
On whether the match seemed extra physical:“It’s always going to be an intense game. I think Ozzie’s [Osvaldo Alonso] yellow [card], I don’t know, I haven’t seen the replay, but I don’t think Ozzie touches him. I think the guy embellishes the whole thing and then he gets up and sprints off. That, to me, is bad because you’re doing that to a fellow professional. But I’m sure there were some cards that were deserved for sure on both sides, in terms of tackles. It’s always going to be a physical game, but you hate to see players embellish and try to draw cards on people.”
On Obafemi Martins getting back to scoring goals:“It’s really important for Oba. It’s also important for Clint [Dempsey] to get on the board. The combinations were good. We had talked about making sure we get wide a little bit. The first goal came from a great combination between [Brad] Evans and [DeAndre] Yedlin and Evans got behind and that low, hard cross. We’ve been talking about that. The second goal, I think Oba had the assist on that one to Dempsey. The second goal, what people don’t realize, is Dempsey made an 80-yard run to get into the box on that thing. He was at least 15 yards behind the center circle. That’s just tremendous effort and awareness and commitment. That was good. Getting Oba on the board for the second one, where he dribbles through is obviously a good goal for him. Dempsey sets up [Chad] Barrett who comes in, continues to score goals for us. Those are all good things. Strikers love scoring goals.”
On where this victory ranks in terms of away victories for him:“This one’s near the top. This one’s definitely near the top. It’s a good feeling just because of everything that’s been going on. You look right now, we went through a five-game stretch beginning on Houston where we played five games in 14 days. Correct me if I’m wrong, but in that stretch we went 3-1-1. We beat Chicago as well in the Open Cup and everybody was talking about how we’ve only won two of our last five in the league or two of our last six in the league. We’re 3-1-1 in our last five games in a 14-day stretch. I think that’s what our team is. Sometimes the Open Cup victories don’t get included in that stuff. I always love it when you guys write this, I’m going to pick on you guys right now. I love it when you guys write this, when there’s an offseason and you say the guy in March hasn’t scored a goal since October. Well, you know, it’s tough to score a goal when you’re on break. For me, that’s what I look at. That’s what we talked about as a team and that’s why we said ‘Stay positive’ after the last game. Sometimes those things happen. The attitude of our team is good.”
On whether today’s lineup was his first-choice selection:“I don’t know what’s a first-choice lineup because you always have little aches and little injuries. Obviously getting Pineda back is helpful to our team. I thought he played a good game. He probably played where some guys might not have played with his ankle injury, but he’s a competitor and once the adrenaline flows, I’m sure he’s pretty sore right now. It’s a lineup we were very happy putting on the field today.”
On what it means to score eight goals this season in Portland:“Obviously, they’re a good team. I don’t want to take anything away from their team. They’re a quality team. We’ve played them four times this year, and we’ve been able to score goals. They’ve scored seven goals on us as well. It’s important that we score goals on the other side. We’ve been able to exploit counter opportunities. We’ve been able to exploit seams at times and I think we’ve done a good job of collective defending when they’re attacking us.”