Sounders Insider

Schmid: Sounders not cursed, but improving

I've already transcribed some hightlights in earlier posts, but here's some more of what Sounders coach Sigi Schmid had to say by conference call today from Kansas City, where his team will play on Wednesday:

(On if he has a game plan on how he is going to control the possession against Sporting KC and slow them down...) "We're just going to try to hold on to the ball. I think in the first half of the Chivas game, I think their pass completion rate was only 60 percent. So it jumped up quite a bit when they were playing against 10 guys, and they did a good job possessing the ball playing a man up. Obviously they have some skillful guys who can hold on to it and they get their outside backs involved and try to hold onto the ball that way. It's important for us to keep the ball as well and create opportunities. I think we did that better against Philly, but we have to limit the opportunities that we give the opponent."

(On the amount of injuries this year and if he believes the team is cursed...) "I think Philadelphia when we played them that was there fourth game in a row that they played with the same starting lineup. I would love to be in that position where I could put the same starting lineup out there. When you look at a team like KC who made some changes in the Chivas game and it's uncertain because they have nobody on the injury report so I can imagine that they were just resting players. To be in a position where you can rest players, and hold them back for another game, and where they have been able to start a pretty consistent back line, and a lot of time their midfield has been pretty consistent as well. Getting to that point would be nice; do I feel we're cursed? I think it's just been more difficult this season, and we have to continue to plug away and be patient. Like I told the team, our last four games we haven't lost. We've won one, and tied three including the Santos game, and three of those four games have been on the road. When you look at it like that I think we're starting to catch ourselves, we're starting to get a better balance of players on the field in terms of work rates, being able to hold onto the ball, and skills, etc. But it's tough when you're playing next to a new partner every game, and you're starting to understand how this guy wants the ball and when he wants the ball, then the next game you're playing with someone else who wants the ball a little differently. Cursed maybe not, but definitely difficult for sure."

(On if Mauro Rosales has improved a lot over the course of this year...) "I think Mauro worked very hard on his fitness in the week break that we had and that has helped him. I think he obviously served up a good corner and had an assist there, and scored a good goal by getting in on the far side. So from the production side of it that was very, very good and I think he helped us. I also think in the second half of the Philly game, as you watch that game, Philly really played without a left back in the second half. They brought on Gabriel Farfan, and moved him over to that side. They let Michael Farfan come inside, and they let Gabriel play the whole line and play up as a winger. So that's something when a team does that to us, we need to take even more of an advantage of the space that we get on the right hand side. We probably didn't get the ball to Mauro enough in that half and allow him to exploit that space behind Gabriel Farfan a little bit more. Overall I thought Mauro's game was definitely much closer to what we expect from Mauro every time we he's out there. I thought it was his best game of the season."

(On what is Mario Martinez needs to do to see more playing time...) "Mario has been slowed down a little bit with a growing injury that's kept him from going full out for a period of time where he was able to participate in like 70 percent of practice, but couldn't get through sometimes the whole practice. So we have given him a little bit of time with that. Mario needs to be where he was for us in preseason where he was very aggressive with the ball, where he was willing to go after the defense and carry the ball forward. As he bogs down and starts playing swarming back in midfield all of the time, then it's tough for us to be able to combine forward. We want him to combine, but we want him to combine about 20 yards further up the field then he was doing at times in games. he's somebody that is a very talented player who we haven't lost faith and confidence in, and we're looking forward to him being 100 percent healthy which right now he has indicated that he feels good right now. so when his opportunity comes we hope he can take full advantage of it."

(On if he can give a scouting report on Sporting KC, and if there is an advantage with them having a Wednesday game and having 24 hours rest on KC...) "As I said in there game Sunday they ended up resting a lot of players. A lot of their starters didn't start for them, so there were quite a few pieces to their puzzle that didn't play all that much. The other side of it too is that they ended up playing against 10 men for basically 40 minutes, and that was the last part of the game where they were already up 3-0, so that made the game a little bit easier for them. I don't think they expended the same amount of energy that I think they would have expended over a normal 90 minute game. That makes the advantage a little bit less so. They're at home, they're sleeping in their own beds, they have both of these games at home, we've been on the road, and there is always an advantage of being at home. Whatever we gain by the 24 hours the other two things even it out. So I think the two teams are going into it pretty equal."

(On the midfield depth and if he has been impressed with the new guys stepping up...) "Alex Caskey has played a lot minutes for us this year, I don't know how it compares to the minutes he played earlier last year, he played some significant minutes for us last year. I don't think Alex's best game was against Philly, and I think he knows that as well. It's just a matter of us being good with the ball, being very consistent with the ball and creating opportunities. Alex is a kid who has a great shot so he has to figure out a way every game to make sure he gets one or two shots from 20 to 25 yards because he hits the ball well. I thought Servando played well in Philly for his first start. For his first game in a while, Andy Rose has had a little bit of a sophomore slump, but he's starting catch himself and playing better as well. Brad [Evans] has played a little bit all over for us so I think there are bodies there, and bodies that have contributed at different times. For us the main issue is that we can't seem to get them into the same position from one week to the other.