Teams confronted with a three goal advantage (Real Salt Lake) or a three-goal defect (Sounders FC) might each have their own mental challenges. However, psychological issues seemed distinctly secondary to Seattle coach Sigi Schmid today -- well behind the simple numerical reality of those three goals.
First, he was asked if there is any concern -- in the old baseball analogy -- of his players trying to hit a five-run home run.
"Obviously you can’t score three at a time," he said. "You have to score the first one and the next one and the next one. We don’t have caps, so we can’t turn them around and make them rally caps, or turn them inside out or whatever, so we’re not going to do that either. It’s a matter of we know we’re not going to get all three goals in five minutes either. It’s going to be a work in process. It’s going to be 90 minutes of work, and we’ve got to get our goals from different places: We’ve got to get them from the run of play, we’ve got to be dangerous on corners, we’ve got to be dangerous on set pieces, we’ve got to keep the pressure on them and not give anything up. But on the same token, we’ve got to carry to game to it, fueled on by our effort and fueled on by our crowd."
Schmid also was asked if there is any mental danger for Salt Lake -- a team approaching a game with the passive goal of simply trying to hold on to what it already has. Schmid clearly won't be spending much time walked the aisles of the Hallmark store shopping for any sympathy cards for RSL:
"I think you’d rather be three ahead than three behind at this stage," he said. "We can start painting pictures and saying a two-goal lead is the worst lead in soccer and all that BS. I’d rather be up two than down two: I think anybody will tell you that. It is what it is. It is the reality. We can’t go back and change Saturday’s game. We can’t change our performance from that night because it’s not going to change that result. What we can is change our performance and affect the result tomorrow night. And that’s our intention and that’s our goal."