Sounders Insider

Johnson a starter; Sanyang finished in Seattle

The new turf and the Alex Morgan signing kind of dominated the local soccer news today. However, coach Sigi Schmid also had several interesting things to say on some other topics.

Among them:

On today’s practice at CenturyLink Field) “Obviously, it’s important for the new guys to see it and it’s also important for us to get back into seeing our sight lines and things like that. Last year we always used to train here like two days before games, but last year we stopped doing that just because the surface was so hard. This year we’ll get back into that rhythm. With the new surface, for all the guys to get used to how it feels, where the stands start, where you are in relationship to your surroundings on the field, having a practice here today, practicing here tomorrow, the game, all that’s going to really help.”

On how the illness of some of the players affects the approach in Wednesday’s game) “Obviously, you always have to be adaptable. So now with us having a little bit of that sickness going through, we really have to evaluate, see how some guys feel after today and into tomorrow. Originally our plan was to see as many guys that we could get through 90 minutes as possible, but now since some of the starters were part of the guys who were sick, as well, we have to see exactly how they feel and not push them so that it takes them a longer time to recover. The object at the end of the day for us is still to get as many guys as close to 90 minutes as possible, for us to get our rhythm as a team down a little more. I think today you saw in the 11v11 at times we knocked the ball around pretty well. Cohesion is pretty good, but we still want to make that better and better all the time. The more you play together the better it becomes.”

On if the CONCACAF Champions League coming before the start of MLS has altered his preseason coaching style) “The main thing we’ve changed is we’ve tried to identify who we thought was in that group that was probably going to start in that game and we’ve tried to play them together more than, say, normal. Normally in preseasons we would maybe mix the groups a little more. Mix some of the new guys and the returning guys to see how they play with that group, but we’ve really done a lot more of our training where we kept, even in 5v5 and 6v6 groups, we kept the starters together, just so they would have more time together.”

On Amadou Sanyang) “Obviously, Chicago is going to take a look at him right now, so we’ll see if they have interest or not. ... We’re looking at other options for him.”

On Eddie Johnson’s progression) “He’s progressing really well. We want to be careful. He felt that today. There were really only a couple of movements that he didn’t feel really good at doing. Outside of that, he says he’s making good progress. He’s probably 85% of the way back, 90% of the way, but we want to be careful because I think he’s going to be an important player for us. I’ve had a chance to work with Eddie now for three or four days—you’re surprised that his touch is very, very good. His timing as to when he opens up is very good. I think when we get him on the field together with Fredy Montero, I think they’re going to be a very good combination.”

On if Johnson is the starter when healthy) “I think David Estrada has played very well in the preseason and certainly deserves some minutes. Sammy Ochoa has picked up his game, is playing better and he’s good around the goal. He’s another one that has good soccer in him. I feel pretty confident with the options that we have, but the reason we brought Eddie, and the reason that we made the trade, is our expectation is that Eddie’s going to be the starter next to Fredy.”

On the changes to the defense) “Leo [Gonzalez] is a guy whose 1v1 defending is pretty good. Tyson [Wahl] was a guy who was a little bit better with the ball. At times when we would play Tyson, we lost a little bit of that 1v1 defending, but we didn’t lose a lot. James Riley played very consistent for us over the years he was here. Adam [Johansson] is a little bit of a different guy. I think we wanted him because he seems to finish off a few more plays going forward. You can see by just the little bit of practice—he and Mauro [Rosales] already have a pretty good understanding of each other. They find each other on a pretty regular basis. I think that combination will continue to grow.”