Sounders Insider

Schmid weighs in on Nkufo signing

Here are thoughts from Sounders coach Sigi Schmid on today's signing of Blaise Nkufo:

“Obviously, we're excited with the signing of Blaise. It's something that is going to make our team better down the line. He's an experience player. He wants to be here, which is important as well. He's got a history of scoring goals. His movement in the box is very good. He's intelligent. I remember when I had Carlos Hermosillo at the Galaxy, and he had really lost a lot of steps, not just a step, he had lost a lot of steps but there was still that goal-scorer's instinct that he had in the box that you can't just teach someone else. Blaise has that and he's going to add that to our team, and it's going to be good to have him as an addition for the second half of the season.”

On concern on Blaise Nkufo's fitness playing the full Dutch season then in World Cup) “No, I mean it's a situation he can't play for us until July 15th. With the World Cup, you know obviously Switzerland hopes they make a run all the way to the final, but chances are they probably won't get through to the final so you figure his World Cup's going to end at some point and then we just have to manage a situation of a little bit of regeneration and time away and then get back in training with us. A lot of the European World Cup teams as they prepare for the World Cup usually their first 5-7 days of activity is like a regeneration period so he'll get a little bit of a break there as well. But everybody I've spoken to, I've spoken to (Swiss national team coach) Ottmar Hitzfeld, I've spoken to people that have seen him play and played with him as well, and fitness coaches, etcetera, everyone says he's in superb shape, he's a great professional in regards to taking care of himself, so age for us is not a factor.”

On impressions on Blaise Nkufo after meeting him) “Adrian (Hanauer) and Chris (Henderson) met with him. I spoke with him on the phone. I was in Los Angeles at the time he was here. But we had a great conversation on the phone, obviously he's very professional, he's very courteous. I think the biggest indication is one of the things he asked before he left is he wanted some video tapes, he wanted some DVDs of our games because he wanted to see how the team played and how he thought he would fit in to that team. That shows you, I think the good pros they research the situation they go into. I think Freddie Ljungberg did that as well. I know (Columbus Crew's) Guillermo Schelotto did that. By the time he came up to Columbus he could tell you how exactly how many point we had last year, who was our leading goal-scorer, he knew everything the club because the guys want to win. And that's what came through in the phone conversation. We spoke English, I haven't spoken German to him yet, but I know he speaks German as well, so at some point we'll speak German as well.”

On how will Blaise Nkufo fit in the formation) “He's an up-top player. He's not someone who's going to play wide. He's somebody that's going to play up top, he's going to be a target. Whether we play with one (forward) and one (other forward) underneath, or whether we play with one (forward) and two wingers, or whether we play with two strikers, he's definitely got to be one of the guys up top.”

On Blaise Nkufo's playing style) “He's got good size, he's good in the air. His reading of crosses and anticipating the space they're going to come into, the movement into space. I think if you look at the style of a player in our league he's probably a little more similar to is (Juan Pablo) Angel for New York. He's not going to be a forward like Jeff Cunningham or someone like that. He's going to be more like Juan Pablo Angel, a guy who can hold up the ball for you, who can play with his back to goal, who's going to get on the end of crosses, the timing of his runs are good, is going to be somebody who just knows how to sniff out opportunities when they present themselves.”