Sounders Insider

Schmid: We are in first place and people are chasing us

I have coach Sigi Schmid's opening statement in the game report a couple of posts below. Here's the rest of what he had to say today after the SOunders' 4-2 win over Chivas USA:

On Obafemi Martins setting the single-season franchise record for goals…) “We’ve still got more games to go, so let’s not write it in yet. Clint is right there close to him as well, so we would like them both to get beyond what the old record was. I thought Oba played very well today, I thought he worked hard and it’s great. I also think it’s the most goals he has had in a season, so we are very proud of him.”

(On Martins’ season…) “He has had a good season. I think it shows that last year, at the end of last year, he was just fatigued from not getting a break—from going to the Russian season to the Spanish season to our season without a break. Now that he had a proper preseason and had that break in between I think he’s sustaining his effort and sustaining it at the end of the season. He is a very important piece to our team and he and Clint are very good together.”

(On Martins and Dempsey’s combinations…) “They look for each other and know where each other are on the field. When one has the ball, the other knows where the other one is… they move for each other off the ball and they trust each other and have confidence in that connection.”

(On Martins and Dempsey continued…) “Certainly the talent level of these two individually could carry a front line for you. Together they are a real handful. Every team I know when they play us, that is something they have to worry about when those two are on the field together. So from the standpoint of having two lead strikers on a team—[that] is not a luxury you get all the time as a coach.”

(On Lamar Neagle…) “I think he is paying attention to the little things. By the little things I think he is working hard off the ball, he is defending better, and that allows him to be in position when we recover the ball to get after them because they are forgetting about him because he is all of a sudden coming from a little deeper, and then he gets forward. His runs are coming from deeper and so it is hard for them to pick him up. When he has gotten around the goal he has done well. He finished his goal well today and the better play he did was not touching the ball on the fourth goal—he was aware to not touch it.”

(On the backline allowing two early goals…) “We’re frustrated with that. That is something we addressed at halftime. I am older so I don’t tend to be very loud at halftime, but I was maybe a little louder today. So that is something we know that’s got to be better. Just like the first goal in Dallas was a really fluky goal, the goals today were fluky goals—bouncing off people, rebounding, and it seemed to always be bouncing their way. Certainly Barrera hits a great shot, the one that hits underneath the cross bar, and that starts that sequence… We have to better and have to make sure we don’t give those up.”

(On where the defense can improve…) “We got countered on the one goal. We just have to be more resilient in our 1-on-1 defending, our 1-1 defending needs to better, our defending as a group needs to be better. We need to just clear the ball, we are a team that likes to pass the ball and entertain the fans, that’s the kind of team we are—we are an entertaining team. Sometimes guys, instead of clearing it, find passes. I think there is one guy in the second half where most defenders in the league, probably 90 percent, would have played it along the line, but he tries to find the pass inside and split, he gets cut off and now they are counterattacking on us. We have a lot of faith in our passing ability, but it’s also what makes a fun team to watch. That’s a reason why the fans come—they know they are going to be entertained by us. They used to say that from an entertainment value that 4-2 is better than 1-0. 4-2 is a lot harder on your heart than a 1-0, I would rather take the 1-0, but this has been an up year scoring as a whole in the league for MLS, and I think that’s positive. There is entertaining soccer being played in our league.”

(On starting Anibaba over Traore…) “Jalil played in the game in New York. He played at right back and he is really more of a center back. We just felt in this game it was his turn to be back out there. Djimi’s been coming off from injury, too, so to come back after Wednesday’s game and come back now and play 90 today would have been hard because he hasn’t really had that big amount of game time where he can play 90 minutes. Jalil didn’t play at Dallas and could go 90.”

On Michel Azira’s performance…) “I thought Michel played very well. He was sort of a forgotten man. We talked and gave him the opportunity and I thought he did very well. He did a good job of closing things down. I thought he was quick. He and [Osvaldo Alonzo] found each other very well. I was very, very pleased with how he played. I don’t know if you know how difficult it is when you haven’t played like he has and deliver the kind of performance he has—it speaks not only to his play, but is character. He is a good character guy.”

On Leo Gonzalez’s injury…) “It’s a hamstring that’s slight, but we felt that if he tried to play today he could pull it and be out for a long time. We are hoping that for Colorado he should be able to be back in the mix.

On Zach Scott’s injury...) “The MRI is tomorrow, there is nothing broken there. His ankle is a little bit arthritic, it’s a little more bone-on-bone. We are thinking that it is more like a bone bruise in the ankle joint. We will just have to wait and see, but he is a tough character because I know if anybody would come back sooner rather later it is him.”

On starting Brad Evans at left back…) “Brad is a man for all seasons—he has done a lot of different things for us at a lot of different times. When Leo went down we wanted to go with Azira inside midfield, and we felt with Pappa and Neagle wide we were OK there, and we wanted to go with Brad.”

On gaining sole possession of first place…) “I am proud of the group. I am proud of our character. Again, we have shown an ability to come back in a lot of those games. There’s nobody more disappointed than the group after the games in New York and Dallas. But we are in first place and people are still chasing us. They have to get three points to even get with us, and we are going to continue to put that pressure on for the rest of the season.”