Sounders Insider

Both coaches talk about Open Cup final

us-open-cup13-2Here is some of what Sounders coach Sigi Schmid and Union coach Jim Curtin had to say today about the U.S. Open Cup final at 4:30 p.m. Tuesday from Pennsylvania.

SCHMID:We’re happy to be playing a team that’s playing well right now. It’s going to be a tough game, a competitive game, a fun one to watch and a good game. Hopefully all the fans will come out and watch the game and will have a good time of it.

On the reward of CONCACAF Champions League: Champions League is a competition that we’ve been in in the past. We enjoy that competition, we look forward to it. Getting knocked out in the semis the last time around gave us a taste of how close we can get to the final game. Being able to eliminate a team from Mexico was something that was really special at the time. That’s far in the future. What’s at hand is a tough game tomorrow night, and we have to be prepared. We have to be fully concentrated, because Philly’s a good team.On his lineup: I think you look at each game a little bit differently and how you’re going to approach it with your team. Players like to play. They don’t like to train, and they don’t want to be rested necessarily. So we look at it, is somebody carrying a knock, is there some reason that we don’t think he can make it through 90 minutes, then we might make some adjustments or some changes. But we feel that with the amount of rest that we’ve had from our game on Friday that we feel pretty good about the group. It was an important game on Friday. We played our first team pretty much in that game. We’ll see how it goes in this one. We haven’t made final decisions. There’s probably three or four things that are up in the air for us right now and we’ll decide those tomorrow morning as to how we’re going to proceed. But … you approach every game to win it, and sometimes that means you make some lineup changes and sometimes that means you don’t.

CURTINIt’s an exciting time in Philadelphia. We have a chance to win our first trophy. Playing against a team that’s the best time in MLS right now – like I’ve said all week – is going to be a challenge, a challenge that I think our guys will be up to. We’ve had the mantra that we respect everyone, but we don’t fear anyone. So as dangerous as they are in attack, our guys will be ready to go. Again, an exciting time in our city and a chance for the first trophy, which is a difficult one.

On opening the run with a stoppage time win in Harrisburg: In these competitions … there’s always obsticles, big hurdles that you have to go through. Early on against, they call them lower-division teams, they’re challenging games because they mean so much to them to get a result. We battled through the first two of them with Harrisburg and then the Cosmos. Our biggest hurdle obviously was in Dallas: That was our most difficult game that we had because we had to go on the road. Another factor is the home field. It’s a good thing to have the final on your home field, a good advantage for us. I’m very familiar with the grind of it, the fact that the games come midweek and they come fast is a challenging one. You have to juggle lineups and you have to juggle different things. To be able to have our team rested right now and to put a full-strength squad out there on Tuesday is very good for us.

On a championship for Philadelphia: I’ve been through the highs and lows, the runs of emotion with a Philadelphia sports team: What it means to be a Flyers, a Sixers, and Eagles a Phillies fan. We have our own unique fan base, and they’re hungry. We’re only in our fifth year. This is an opportunity to lift a trophy. It’s one that our fans deserve. I think we have the best fans in the league, I think they deserve a trophy and I think they’re excited. They’ll all be out here in waves tomorrow, and pushing us on. It’s something that means a lot to me. Being from this city, to do it here would be special. It’s different than a player. I’ve won this competition twice as a player and I’ve lost it once as a player. But as a coach it carries a little more weight. I think as a player you’re probably a little more selfish maybe in your thinking. … But being from here I feel a little more the weight not to let the city down. We want to win.

On the first 10 15 minutes: Finals are always unique. They’re always crazy. You play in them, sometimes the teams don’t look like they do in the buildup to a final. It can be crazy at the start. There can be some longballs, just a feeling-out process, just because there’s nerves with any player. You’re a liar if you say you aren’t nervous going into a final – as a coach and a player. It’ll be an emotional start to the game, but once it settles down, both teams can play. We can counterattack with the best of them, they have a counterattack as well, and they can keep the ball with any team in MLS. It’s going to be a little bit of cat-and-mouse early on for sure, to feel each other out. But once it settles down it is a game where you have two teams that are in very good form and then the soccer part takes over at that stage.