Sounders Insider

Schmid looks back at win and season

Here is coach Sigi Schmid's opening statement after the Soudners 2-0, Supporters Shield-clinching win over the LA Galaxy:

First off I want to congratulate our team for 34 solid weeks. I think winning the Supporters Shield is a reflection of what you’ve done, it’s work over a period of time. It’s 34 weeks of training, it’s 34 weeks of games. Put all that together and it shows that we were able to come out on top. It doesn’t matter if you were able to get your points early, if you get your points late: all that matters is the total points you have at the end of the day. So I’m really proud of our group. I’m really proud of what they accomplished this year. And we want to carry this spirit into these next games here in the MLS playoffs, and obviously that’s the trophy that we haven’t gotten yet that we want to get now.

You’ve often heard me say these games take on sort of their own life: You plan for things, but it turns out a little differently. Obviously the game today wasn’t – I’m not going to put that in the category of one of our best games overall – but it took on its own life. I felt in the first half they committed a lot of fouls to stop counters. Every time we had two-three passes somebody would get fouled. You noticed early I think the foul total at 30 minutes I looked up and they had 10 fouls. That would be on par for 30 for the game, which is an awful lot. But then we didn’t do a good job of keeping possession, but we were defending well, and knowing that a tie would get us through we decided to stay with that. Brad Evans was playing with a bad groin and as I saw that he couldn’t really play the ball forward anymore I decided to come with Marco Pappa. We wanted him to stay a little more bound to the win, which he did and scored a great goal and then obviously stole another goal at the end and helped to the game for us from a tie into a win. But we weren’t going to give up a goal today. That was our resolve, and it’s something that you have to have as you go into the playoffs.

Again, I’m very proud of everything and everyone involved in this organization, from ownership down to our equipment staff. We’re proud of everybody for their contributions to the whole season.

Here's more from Schmid:

On subbing Brad Evans for Marco Pappa: “It wasn’t planned. I always run through scenarios before the game—if this guy is struggling or this guy should come on or switch, then you have to feel is now the right time, when is the right time? There was a sequence of three passes there with the ball I thought that Brad could have turned and played the ball up-field and play it down the line. But every time he coughed it for a short 10,15-yard pass and that showed me wasn’t able to play that ball anymore. That’s when we made that change.” On winning the Supporters’ Shield: “You want to be first for the playoffs, so that means you win the shield. I think our conference is a little stronger than the East, at least this year it is showing that way. At the end of the day the shield is another feather in the cap of our organization. I think people forget we are still a young organization; we are only six years [old]. We are six years in and have won four Open Cups and a Supporters’ Shield—that’s five trophies in six years. Salt Lake hasn’t done that, Kansas City hasn’t done that [and] the other new franchises haven’t done that. I think that is a reflection of our consistency and I hope our fans appreciate that. Certainly LA is a formidable opponent and LA is a team that has done well in the MLS Cup. I am sure our paths will cross again.” On the team’s confidence: “I think last week, being down 2-0, shows that we have that confidence. I thought LA played a good game today. They put a lot of pressure on us early and played with a very high tempo. They played very direct—they had very long passes and tried to knock everything behind. They tried to use Donovan’s speed advantage to go upfront and cause some problems that way. I thought Zach Scott and Chad Marshall, for the most part, did a really good job absorbing it.” On moving on the next trophy: “We will enjoy it today and tomorrow, then it’s back to work on Monday. We get a day and a half to enjoy it, so that’s good. Our mantra this season was to try to be greedy. We have one more thing to [do to] be the ultimate greed people. It’s great because it gives you confidence as you move forward. Winning the Supporters’ Shield, as you know, in the history of the league there have been very few teams to win the Supporters’ Shield and also win MLS Cup. I feel fortunate because I have been able to do it a couple of times, so hopefully we can do that.” On the two late goals: “It was great to get the win and to win at the end of the game like that. The spirit, the crowd, and they all stayed afterwards and celebrated with us. Obviously a tie would have gotten us the shield as well, but it just gives us a little more pizazz. To use a food analogy, it’s like having a cake with no icing, so the win put the icing on the cake.” On Pappa’s role for next match: “It depends on the opponent. I talked to Marco yesterday, and I told him we weren’t going to have him start this game, and explained to him based on the opponent, based on what we needed to do—because Bruce [Arena] never lets anyone know if he has injuries or anything—so we weren’t sure if [Robbie] Keane was going to play or not. It looked like last week he had a hamstring, but we weren’t sure, so we wanted to make sure we were set defensively because we wanted to make sure we established that part of our game then look to that part of the game. We will see who the next opponent is in the next round, and we’ll see the matchups. He is a very important player to our team and a skillful player who can make things happen.” On the shutout: “You got to win games different ways. One of the criticized parts of our team has been defending, and that’s a good attacking team, and I thought we held them at bay. We may have bent a little bit, but we held them at bay and got a shutout in a very key game. That is important as we move forward into the playoffs.” On rebounding from last season: “It means a lot. I think last year was a freakish year. Luckily I didn’t lose all my hair—I am blessed that way in that I didn’t lose my hair, my grandfather was bald but I don’t have that gene. Last year was really frustrating at the end. We were playing upside down, trying to make things work and we just couldn’t get it to change, couldn’t get it to work. There was a while there where you guys were like, ‘Oh they’re struggling now, here we go, déjà vu is happening.’ I said all along, No, this isn’t déjà vu, this is a different group.’ So yeah, our last 10-15 games weren’t as strong as our first 10-15 games, but at the end of the day we always showed that ability to put ourselves into games, and be around and be involved. Even the loss we took in Dallas I don’t think that was a 3-1 game down there. It’s important for our group to know this isn’t last year, and they knew that all along and continue to believe in themselves.” On the physicality of the game: “It goes back to it because it was a frustrating game because of the tactical fouls that were going on. It got a little heated a couple of times too with some tackles and people getting agitated with each other. You have got to have that fire, but you can’t go too far and lose your composure, lose your control, and get yourself thrown out. I think that was important—there were some guys who stepped in on the guys who were a little more heated. At the end of the day, that belief that as long as the game is going on and the ref hasn’t blown that final whistle, we believe we can win. That’s the belief we have had since the beginning of the season and we have carried that through. Being able to win at the end was certainly part of that.” On the lineup for next match: “We’ll see. Obviously we have a week now before we play and we get to play a team that will play a game on Wednesday or Thursday, not sure. We will set back and evaluate and make those decisions.” On Obafemi Martins’ Volkswagen MVP chances: “I don’t know, that’s for you guys to figure out. We have so many important players; we have so many MVP’s. Obviously what Oba has done for this team is absolutely fantastic, but what Clint has done for this team as well has been fantastic. So to hold one over the other, or what Chad Marshall did in the back today, or what Zach Scott has done with an unending desire, those are all factors, or the way Osvaldo Alonso’s covering, I leave that MVP stuff to you.” On the performance from wing: “Pappa, when he became available at the start of the season, I thought was a good acquisition for us. We had lost Steve Zakuani from the year before, he could play on the wing, we also lost Mauro Rosales because of our DP situation, and we felt there is a guy who could come in and play on the flank and cause some danger. When you look at Pappa and Neagle, two of our flank players, there are 15 goals from your wide players; that is pretty good. That has been a strength of ours in Seattle, getting goals from our wide players.”