No big news out of today's final Sounders practice before the match tomorrow against San Jose.
However, I think there are three major issues that have been running through our coverage this week, and Sounders coach Sigi Schmid spoke a bit on each.
The angle that has interested me the most this week has been this history-brought-to-live pairing of Earthquakes and Sounders from the NASL days. I'll write more about that for the Saturday paper. And today I asked Schmid -- who was living in the LA area during the NASL -- if he was an NASL fan.
His answer: "At the time the Aztecs were around. I had some friends that played with them with the old L.A. Aztecs. As a youth coach, I used to take my team to watch their games and so forth. I never played in that level because it ended up becoming a personal decision in some things what I was doing in terms of school, and coaching, and marriage, and all kinds of complicated things like that. The pay wasn't really good and only two Americans played. So when you went into a locker room and a coach said 'I got to put a dang American on the field', that didn't fill you with a lot of confidence. And I thought I don't know if I want to do that, maybe I want to move onto other aspects of my life. But having seen the Sounders play, Dean Wurzberger is a good friend of mine who is at the University of Washington, he played with the Sounders up here during that time, we knew each other. I had a lot of friends who played with the Aztecs. I was one of the first coaches at that time, in my youth team, I actually had two of my youth players go straight from high school into the pros, which was sort of unheard of at that times. But I had two players, Paul Jones and Todd Saldana, who went straight from high school into the pros, one with the Aztecs, one with the Earthquakes in fact. So yeah, I definitely know what was going on in those days. And I knew a few of the Earthquakes players as well."
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Schmid also spoke on the other two big issues of the week:
The return of Kasey Keller: "Having Kasey return to the team is certainly important for us. On the field, off the field, he's an experienced player. He provides a lot of leadership for us. You just look back there and you see a very calming presence in goal. I've always felt that presence is the most important things goalkeepers give a team. And when you have that strong presence in the back it just makes everybody feel better that's playing in front of you."
And on what it is the team needs to correct end end this two-game losing (and scoreless) streak before things get serious: "For our team right now, it's a situation of obviously we haven't produced in the offensive end in the last couple of games in terms of getting results and getting goals, and that's something certainly that we want to correct. I think our final pass has been off a little bit, so if we can improve that aspect of our game that's something that we have to look at and we got to look at who can maybe make some of the plays, and who can do that. Sometimes when people get hung up with a team not scoring, it's sometimes not so much the final pass as well as it's that first pass. Sometimes the first pass out of the back, if it's a good one, leads to another good one, leads to another good one. If the first one is a safe one, or just not so good, then the next one's not so good, and you never really get yourself on track. So for us it's a matter of we want to get goals. I think defensively we've been pretty solid. Even though we've given up two in the last game, it's not like they really broke us down in a lot of different ways. So we feel confident we can stay solid defensively, and we need to look to basically spice up our offense a little bit."