Here's more of what coach Sigi Schmid had to say today after Sounders training at Starfire Sports Complex in Tukwila"
(On not having a game until next Wednesday...) "It gives us some practice time because the last time we decided to give the players time off, so now we have some practice time. Hopefully our rhythm will be a little bit sharper. I thought in the Salt Lake game-I watched the game twice yesterday and I don't think it was a shellacking by any stretch of the imagination. I thought our sharpness in the final third-our final passes-wasn't as good or with the quality that it needed to be, but overall until then I thought it was OK."
(On if he would do anything different looking back...) "Lamar [Neagle] got hurt about 10 minutes into the game. He went into a tackle with [Ned] Grabavoy and felt his hip flexor a little bit. We don't think it's extreme. He tried to play through it in the first half, tried to come out in the second half and we pulled him out early, so he wasn't very sharp. I think it was just a matter of the coordination of Oba [Martins] and Eddie [Johnson] in relationship with each other because they hadn't played together in a while. You always look at things and say, 'Could I have done this differently or that differently? Maybe that would have changed things,' but overall the three of them place-changed very well. I didn't think [Kyle] Beckerman was much of a factor at all in the first half until he scored the goal...We didn't have any shots, I'm not taking anything away from that. We didn't have any shots. We didn't create anything near their goal. We were close a couple times-Leo [Gonzalez] hits the ball too hard for Eddie or else Eddie's in, Oba leads Neagle too far unless he's in, Neagle one time has Oba and misses him by five yards or else he's in. You have those kind of opportunities, but at the end of the day they didn't have anything clean, either, in the first half before the goal. It was one of those-we have to learn our lessons, we have to be better on set pieces, for sure."
(On National Team players adjusting back to the club...) "International games are, on one hand, more tactical, but on the other hand they're also slower. There's more emphasis on possession. There's less dynamic running off the ball sometimes, and when you get back into league play there's more of that, so the running you have to do up front is different from the running you do wide. Maybe not enough time to integrate them."
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(On the potential of playing Neagle, Johnson, and Martins together...) "I think we can get all three of them on the field and be successful."
(On Evans, Johnson and Mario Martinez getting some time off...) "I wanted to give them some time off because all the other guys had time off, and I think they needed some time off, as well. I had already told them before the Salt Lake game, 'Play the Salt Lake game and after Salt Lake we'll give you some time off."
(On if any decision had been made regarding Martinez's loan...) "It's still in negotiation."
(On if the Martinez decision being a financial one...) "We're clear on what we want to do, it's just a matter of if it's going to work out financially. It's a league that has a salary cap, so that's something we have to consider when we do any of these negotiations."
(On Eriq Zavaleta returning from his loan to the San Antonio Scorpions...) "Well, he might be going back. There's some more games he can pick up there, so his loan stint is not over at this point. For him to get 90 minutes is important. He played two games and he's got a chance to get two or three more. We want to try and see if we can get him those two-three more games."
(On defending set pieces...) "The goal that Beckerman scored-if you give him that shot 10 times, I don't think he puts it in the net 10 times, for sure. It's probably a pretty small percentage, but take nothing away from it-he hit it well and it's right under the crossbar. There was somebody who didn't do their assignment on that one. We needed one more player back, so we just have to make sure that people understand what their assignments are on that and make sure they do them. It means we'll train them a little more conscientiously. At the end of the day, you can have all your matchups right and everything else, like [Alvaro] Saborio's header that just goes wide. He out-jumps Djimi [Traore] and there's nothing you can do differently on the chalk board and when you draw it up. At the end of the day, it came down to a duel between one player and another. You have to make sure people have their assignments, you have to make sure that we get people back, and we understand the time of the game that set pieces occur. Maybe we defend it a little different in the 15th minute as opposed to the 45th minute."
(On if Saturday's performance was better than the previous RSL matchup...) "Generally when we play Salt Lake, usually possession is like in the high-50 percent for them, maybe even in the low-60's, because they're the kind of team that's their emphasis. This game I think it was like 52 to 48 or something like that. I think our ability to possess the ball was much better. I didn't think they possessed the ball a lot. I think the last 20-25 minutes they certainly dominated the game and had more of the game, but that's a point where we were down 2-0 and we're starting to take some risks. We're starting to push people forward and we made some changes. [Mauro] Rosales needs to get more touches than he got in the 70 minutes he played and we need to do a better job of sustaining pressure on the attacking end of the field."
(On only managing two shots...) "It wasn't good enough. We have to be able to sustain pressure and be able to maintain possession in the final third of the field. We have to have people play and move off the ball at that stage, and then there's got to be quality of passing. That was a part of it for us. I thought the quality was good through the first two-thirds of the field, and then for some reason the last third of the field was a little more hit-and-miss. We needed to do a better job there."
(On if total shots is a good representation of the game...) "It's not always an indicator. It's about creating chances. I remember having a team we got outshot every game and we finished something like 18-1-2. If we got six shots, we'd get three goals. The other team would have 18 and they'd have zero goals. It depends...Their shots in the first half, of their eight shots, I think Beckerman's shot was inside the box and I think there might have been one other shot that was in...or none. All the other seven shots were 20 yards or so out, and that's not going to bother us. It's not going to hurt us unless the guy is getting a really open look, like if we leave [Khari] Stephenson with a really good open look. I think there was one really good open look we left somebody with and that was it. To take shots that are just hopeful or just pad the stats doesn't make any sense. On the same token, two shots is not enough and we need to sustain pressure and create chances and do better there."
(On how to get Rosales more touches...) "The team needs to find him and he needs to find the ball. It's a combination of both things, so we need to do a better job of finding him and we have to make sure he gets into positions where we can find him. Part of it is our ability to, again, maintain possession in the final third of the field."