Sounders Insider

Sounders look past Cup, still holding Shield hopes

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Here's part of what coach Sigi Schmid had to say after training today -- two days after their U.S. Open Cup championship, and two days before returning to MLS regular-season play Saturday against Philadelphia: On the injury status of Alvaro Fernandez and Mauro Rosales) “Today was an easy day, so we’ll see. You want to make sure [Fernandez] is 24 hours clear and he felt pretty good. Now it’s just a matter of him going through all the different procedures and tests they give him. With Mauro, he stepped up again today in terms of doing more difficult things. Really with this weekend it’s a little bit about how he feels and it’s also a little bit about my decision, as well.”

On getting Rosales minutes before the playoffs) “He’ll get minutes before the playoffs. If he’s unable to play this weekend or I decide not to play him this weekend then he’ll for sure play the last two games of the regular season. We want him to have rhythm and play. Mauro’s pretty easy because he’s a pretty hard worker at training so for him to maintain his fitness or his touch is a little bit easier than some guys. Some guys bring a different level into games. Mauro brings a pretty good level into training.”

On if he’s being more cautious with the injuries since the Open Cup Final is past) “Exactly. We were obviously pushing and seeing if it was possible to get him back for the Cup Final. Once we came to the decision that he wasn’t going to make it back for that then we said, ‘Okay, let’s just go on how he feels and how he progresses.’ If he’s ready for this weekend, great. If he’s not ready, obviously we’re OK with that because he’s making progress all the time. At the end, we’ll sit down and make a decision.”

On if their increased chances at the Supporter’s Shield changes the team mentality) “The guys realize it and we talked about it today. They realize mathematically there’s still a shot at the Supporter’s Shield. Sometimes it’s not over until it’s over… [The Galaxy] play at Houston still, which is going to be difficult because Houston is going to be in need of points at the end of the year, so it’s going to be a difficult game. Chivas is not a team that’s looking for points right now, but Chivas-Galaxy is a big rivalry game—it’s like us playing Portland or us playing Vancouver—so there’s still some difficult games for them so you don’t know what’s going to happen. What we want to do is put ourselves in a position where if they do slip we’re there to take advantage of it. If they don’t slip, then we’ve maintained our rhythm of play and maintained a consistency of play.”

On if LA’s break in play makes it easier on the Sounders FC) “No. It allows the standings to even out at the end of the day but allows us to put a little bit of pressure on them. Also right now they’re getting a good break right before the playoffs—a really important time. So they’re getting a time to rest their players, take care of some injuries, and so forth. Because of the rescheduled game against Philadelphia, we don’t have that opportunity so we have to go at our schedule the way we need to.”

On if he’s confident in the offense after the Chicago game) “We’re always confident in our offense. We think we’re a team that can create chances in every game that we play. I think right now we’re the leading goal-scoring team in the league and that’s doing it by having different people score goals. As we said to our team going into the Fire game, ‘We don’t need to take a goal to get kick-started today. Let’s make sure we play at the zero. We know that we’re going to get a goal. It might be minute one, ten, eighty, ninety, ninety-three, doesn’t matter. We know we’re going to get a goal. We’re a good enough team, so let’s make sure we take care of the other things.’ And they did. We’re always confident we’re going to be goal-dangerous and score goals.”

On moving on from the emotions of Tuesday) “It’s difficult. John Wooden always said, ‘For every up game you’re going to have a down game.’ It will be interesting to see how the guys come out on Saturday. It’s going to be a little bit of a challenge, an emotional challenge for them, as well. I think they’ve got to be proud, and I felt they needed to enjoy what they accomplished on Tuesday night. Like I said, ten, twenty years from now people are going to be looking back and say, ‘That’s a phenomenal accomplishment.’ […] It’s a situation where now they’ve got to re-focus. They’ve got to decide, ‘Hey, this is the next task at hand.’ And that hunger, that desire to continue to win and to continue to achieve has to be present. We can’t relax. The moment you become satisfied, you become ordinary so we can’t be satisfied.”