Here's some of what Sounders coach Sigi Schmid had to say today, after the LA Galaxy's Sunday loss at Dallas set the stakes for the final two games of the regular season: The Sounders are Supporters Shield champions if they can get at least two points out of their season ending games Sunday at LA and Oct. 25 vs. the Galaxy at CenturyLink Field.
ON LA's loss and its meaning: Obviously it was a good result for us. We’re in a situation where we’ve got to win one out of the last two. If we win one game, then we win the Supporters Shield. It’s the Supporters Shield, but it’s also first place and seeding and being able to play the team that has to play the play-in game. That’s what’s at stake. LA wants the same thing, so they’re going to be two great game.
On any benefit to settling it with a win in Game One: You want to go in playing well, as you go into the playoff stretch. I know with Columbus one year we secured the Supporters Shield pretty early. We had everything locked up. We have first-place locked up pretty early. And we rested a couple of games, but the last game of the season we played the full squad, because I wanted them in the rhythm of playing. So the last thing you want to do is take your team out of the rhythm of playing, because if you lock it up say with a week to go, that means two weeks that your team hasn’t played together. So you’ve got to look at it. It all depends what happens, and then we’ll make those decisions and those calls.
On whether these are looked at as a pair of games: We’ve got one game first, and then we’ve got a second game. It’s two game in total, but if we can clear things up in the first game, that will be great. It’s going to be an emotional game, because it will be Landon’s last regular-season game at home. It’s going to be sold out. There are a lot of emotions at play for them. But we’re going to be ready
On the honor of Supporters Shield vs. it's advantages in terms of home field for playoffs and MLS Cup: When you look at the history of the league, not a lot of teams that have won Supporters Shield have gone on to win MLS Cup. But that’s not so much because of what the Supporters Shield means. That’s more an understanding of that MLS is a Cup, which means if you hit three good games at the right time, or four good games at the right time, then you’re going to win the cup. That’s a little more from that standpoint than it is a negative to the Shield. Winning the Shield is always something you can be proud of. For is it would be a nice accomplishment.
On the race going down to the end with head-to-head matches: I know the Supporters Shield has gone down to the last game a few times. That I know for sure, but I don’t know if necessarily the two teams that were competing for the Shield were actually playing against each other. I think that might be a little bit unusual and unique for the situation. … That’s great for the fans, and I think it’s great for the players too. If you’re a player, these are the kinds of games you want to play in. As a player you want to be comfortable in big games. Big games are things that you look forward to and you’re really comfortable in and relaxed in. That makes you a better player.
On this is almost like an early playoff series: These are two games for the Supporters Shield. It’s not really reflective of the playoffs, because what you have to do is a little different.
And this from Sounders captain Brad Evans:
On the Dallas-LA impact: We’ve got two games left, we’ve got to win one. That’s it,
On if the result changes the approach for the next two games: It doesn’t change. GO into it with two games in mind. No matter who the opponent is you’ve got to get a result anyway. The Galaxy is the second-best team right now -- it’s a matter of fact -- so we just have to go and do the business one of these weekends.
On if the stakes help with mentality for stretch run: Mentally as the week goes on … we’ll get into it, a little more intense, a little bit more serious. But right now try to have a little bit more fun, enjoy that it’s the culmination of the season and just try to enjoy this time.
On if these games help with mentality heading into playoffs: Yeah. Playoffs, things change. It doesn’t matter really who you play: 1-vs.-4, 4-vs.-5, last year it was a 1-0 game against Colorado for us. At the end of the day it’s playoffs and anything can happen, so we approach these games with Supporters’ Shield in mind knowing that we’re already in the playoffs. I don’t think the mindset changes, but it’s good to play against a good opponent leading up to the playoffs.