Here was coach Sigi Schmid's first reaction when asked about today's 4-4 come-from-behind draw at Portland:
Exiciting. Great game to be a fan. Not a great game to be a coach because it’s hard on your heart, but fantastic game for our fans, for their fans, for national TV. I think a great advert for soccer.
Here's more of what Schmid had to say:
On Clint Dempsey’s performance:“He stepped up and played well. You know Evans and [Dempsey] are our two captains. He stepped up into the breach today. Obviously, a good first goal in the first half. He was unlucky on the one that he turned and spun the guy. Should have had maybe an assist on [Obafemi Martins]’s header, but that went wide. But he stepped up, as our team did. We were down 2-1 and we came back and we were down 4-2 and we came back. So that speaks well on our team.
“We wanted to tuck him inside a little bit from there and we played sort of more of our three midfielders and spread them out a little bit. They were getting a little bit of joy on the flanks, creating some 2v1s. So when we brought Neagle in at that point, when we were down 4-2, we went more back into a 4-2-3-1 with Clint [Dempsey] centrally under [Martins] and Neagle and later Pappa pushing on the wings and that seemed to suit us in this particular game better.”
On conceding four goals:“You’re never happy when give up four goals, but I think some of the goals that we gave up were individual mistakes. Obviously, a tremendous shot by Chara, a tremendous shot by Urruti. We didn’t step up and close the space on Chara’s shot and Urruti’s, we lose the ball, Anibaba loses the ball. He thinks maybe it’s a foul; it wasn’t. So the guy comes through on that. Another one, I think the first goal, we gave the ball away in midfield as well to them. We have to eliminate those turnovers in bad parts of the field, so we don’t give away opportunities like that. When you score four on the road, you should come away with a win, but I’m sure they feel when you score four at home, you should have a win as well.”
“I’m excited about the fact that we talked in the offseason about our character and we want to establish the character of our team. I’m excited about the character of our team that showed through today. You’re down 4-2 with 10 minutes to go, eight minutes to go and most people are saying ‘this one’s over.’ We come back and make it 4-4 and we could have made it 5-4. You look at Anibaba’s shot was going in, hit [Martins] leg and went wide. [Martins]’s header at the back post. You have the one where [Martins] deflects it and just deflects it wide. You had [Andrew] Weber make two unbelievable saves: one on Marshall’s header and one on Cooper’s shot in the first half. When you add that all up, there’s a lot of goals we could have had.”
On his team’s response to allowing two quick goals:“We showed the character to come back and make it 2-2 before the half was over. It’s something we’ve been talking about, to not lose faith in what we’re trying to do and maintain it and keep fighting for each other and good things will happen. I think the team showed that a couple of times today.”
On his players performances:“Everybody sees goals. [Dempsey] stepped up with three goals. [Martins] was a little unlucky, but still had two assists today, so he stepped up well there. I thought as well, Lamar Neagle came in and had a presence off the bench. I know he was disappointed today in not starting, the first game he didn’t start, but he made a real big impact coming off the bench for us. DeAndre Yedlin stepped up his game today as well, where he’d been playing not, sometimes, aggressive enough for me. Today he was a lot more aggressive, especially in the second half and as a result of a good, aggressive run he drew the penalty kick.”
Thoughts on how wide open the game was:“It’s just that kind of game. When you look at the game, you’d say ‘[Portland] probably had a little more of the ball than we did,’ but at the end of the day we had more possession than [Portland] did. It was basically 50-50. It’s just the way they play. They try to get to the flanks. We play our game, right now, maybe a little more centrally. Both teams found opportunities and it was an open game because of the fact, I think, that there were some defensive mistakes on both sides of the ball, their side and our side. That lead to the openness as well.“Execution is always important. When you get chances, you have to finish them. For a while I was ruing that we had some good chances that we didn’t finish. At the end of the day, defensive execution is important as well.”