Here are some quick highlights of what coach Sigi Schmid had to say tonight after the Sounders' 3-2 win over RSL.
"Definitely an exciting game for sure," he said. "A couple of fantastic goals. Lamar Neagle’s goal, Joao Plata had a great goal as well. A couple of good combination goals: our goal from Obafemi and their’s from Morales. And then a goal through a little bit of effort and determination from Andy Rose. We said at the beginning of the season we were going to be a team that was going to play from minute one through minute 90 or 95, and that’s something we’ve shown often, and we showed it again tonight. It was tremendous to get the three points. A big win for us in terms of separation and staying in first place and continuing to push for the Supporters Shield. Now we’ve got to get ready: We’ve got an important game Tuesday in Philly."
More from Schmid:
(On playing Real Salt Lake…) “I think the two teams bring out another level in each other. I didn’t think in the first half we did a good job defending, I think we gave too much space to Morales. We didn’t pick him up enough and we usually do a much better job of keeping Salt Lake on one side of the field, and they did a good job of switching the ball on us and they opened the game on us. I thought in the second half our defending was better and that allowed to then start to create more chances, get more corner kicks, [and] get forward more. Obviously these two teams, and there are a couple others as well, that when you play them you are going to raise the game to the best level you can.”
(On preparing for Open Cup final) “There was a lot of hard work for our game tonight. They’ve got to rest and recover, we will see what Philadelphia throws out there tomorrow. That is our next game, our next preparation. After Tuesday we will worry about New York on Saturday.”
(On if there was payoff for giving Dempsey extra rest this week) “I thought Clint worked hard. Clint and Oba both worked hard together. We can see that in his numbers, in his touches, and in his running. He was unlucky on a couple of opportunities in the first half, he had some decent looks, but he will continue to get better… It’s not always about goals, it’s about setting up people as well. He did a great job setting up Oba and Oba does a great job setting him up. They can contribute both my scoring and by setting the guys up.”
(On Andy Rose…) “I thought Andy was an important sub for us today. He’s got a bounce in his step. He brings that energy—you saw right when he got on the field he went down to the left corner. His fitness level is good, he’s worked hard, [and] he is fresh. He’s eager to play. Those things together have really helped him. Obviously when we are trying to push forward his height and his ability in the air helps us as well.”
(On Lamar Neagle…) “I thought Lamar was much better today. I think in a couple of games he has struggled lately, but today, not just because he scored the goal, his overall play was better today. When he gives us that—and sometimes he comes from a deeper position, not always high on the front line… I thought there a couple of times he was able to collect the ball facing his defender coming at him, and I think that helped his game.
(On Neagle’s goal…) I thought that was fantastic. It came out of nowhere. You don’t necessarily expect him to shoot that one and the ball drops and he gets it. He scored a great one against Salt Lake in Salt Lake a few years ago, and this one was from the other side with his other foot. One was left, one was right.”
(On early opportunities…) “Early on obviously (Rimando) came up with the big save. I think Oba was a little bit surprised that he was onside on that play. He just hit the crossbar there. We also thought the refereeing was all over the place at times today. But at the end of the day both teams have to deal with it.”
(On the lineup for Tuesday…) “We’ll see what team Philadelphia puts out there tomorrow. I am less concerned about Tuesday in terms of being fresh or fitness because they have to play a game as well. They will have fatigue. We are sort of going into the game equal. There might be a couple people we need to move a little bit, move around and make some changes, but we feel this group is a fit group and will be able to recover.”
(On Marco Pappa…) “He has a big game on Saturday. Obviously he is going to play 90 minutes on Saturday because that is a big game for his country. Marco has done ever so well, he has four goals for them in three games. He has really picked up the mantle for his country. I know that is something he has looked forward to do and something he and I have actually talked about it. I said that it is your turn, it’s your turn. Carlos Ruiz is a little older now, so it’s your turn to step up and be the man for Guatemala and he has certainly stepped up and has been the man for them in this tournament. We will see how he does in that game. He is going to fly directly from LA to Philly, so he will be there and we will decide if he is going to be on the bench or how many minutes we think he can play.”
(On combinations between Martins and Dempsey…) “It’s just common. At times I thought their passing was a little off today from what it normally is, but they still look for each other and still find each other. And that was just a great combination. You never want to grow complacent when you’re watching it and you got to realize you are watching some pretty impressive and skillful stuff when that happens.”
(On the game being stretched…) “It was stretched because we were trying to attack but there were times t looked like fouls to me, and then fouls didn’t get called. Then you get stretched because there is a guy out of position, he’s on the ground thinking he’s going to get a call and the ball is going the other way. It happened vice-versa a couple times, too, where I thought they were fouled and the ball went the other way. That added to the game being stretched. But I really the thought in the second half, even before the red card, we started to get the game under control and started to exert more pressure on them.”
(On sweeping RSL at home…) “RSL is a good team. We have to be on the top of our game when we play them. Winning both games at home this year is important for us. Obviously they got the win there, but as I told the team before the game—the win they got there, there were two situations in the first half when Brad Evans had a heavy touch and he would have been in one-on-one with Rimando and the one where Dempsey headed, maybe the ball falls and he shoots it, then there was a through ball that hit a little too hard for Dempsey, so we had three really good looks in the first half in Salt Lake. Even though we lost that game, we were reminded that this is a team that we can get behind and that’s what we looked to do here.”
(On the focus of the team…) “We want to win games. We want to get points. We want to try to make this a very special year. We have a special opportunity on Tuesday to win another Open Cup and Philly will be feeling motivated because this is their first opportunity to do that. We are going to be equally motivated, so winning always helps build confidence. Coming and winning late helps build confidence because no matter how long it goes you have the ability to come back.”
(On the comeback win…) “Again, it speaks to the character of the team. I thought the goal we gave up was a little bit soft and then the one with Morales he was wide open with the box, so we didn’t do well defensively, but then we came back and got two goals to put ourselves back into it. One of them was a little bit of a wonder strike by Lamar, but it showed us our character and our team’s belief. One-nothin’ is nothin’ and we can come back from that. The stats in this league are overwhelming that once you go down, you generally lose the game. So fighting that stat, and doing the opposite, is always a good thing and speaks of the character of your team.”