Sounders Insider

Schmid: ‘Welcome to the last 10 games of season’

Here’s some of what the Sounders had to say Sunday after ending a five-game losing streak with a 4-0 win over Orlando City, led by the return of Obafemi Martins and the debuts of Nelson Valdez and Roman Torres:

COACH SIGI SCHMID

Opening statement:

“Welcome to the last 10 games of the season – hopefully it will be more like the first 10 games of the season. Obviously having some guys back made a big difference for us; [Obafemi Martins] obviously helps us – he gives not only his play, but he gives everybody around the team a little more confidence. I think [Nelson] Valdez had a great debut game. I think you see why we brought him here – his ability to battle and fight. [Romàn] Torres is a very calming influence in the back. I know there has been some talk of [Brad] Evans in the midfield changing positions, I thought Evans was solid in midfield. That’s why he is captain of the team. I knew it would take some days to sink in. I thought [Erik] Friberg was excellent tonight. Even though he only got on assist, he was involved in the first goal, he was constantly [involved]. He put Lamar Neagle through there on what should have been a goal. He is very good at finding those gaps and getting the ball to the people who needed it. Obviously we were pleased today. It made it easier with them getting a red card, but also they got a red card because we were going at them and forced the defender into committing two yellow card fouls because we were constantly going at the young defender, and that was one of the things we wanted to do.”

On scoring off set pieces:

“Yeah, we haven’t scored anything off set pieces, and I think now with Valdez and Torres, as well, it makes us so much more dangerous now on set pieces. I’ve always said that the key is service, and I think Erik has been serving the ball fairly well for us and I think that has really helped us in that regard…It definitely makes life more difficult for the opponent. The key to all of that is service, and if we have good service we can get there.”

On Obafemi Martins returning to the pitch:

“He is a valuable player to the team. He brings special quality. Like I said, the most important thing he does is that he gives everyone else on the field confidence. So they have confidence, and all of a sudden, as their confidence grows…it makes all of the difference in the world.”

On injuries:

“Andreas [Ivanschitz] had a little bit of tightness in his quad. Again, we don’t need guys to get injured and he didn’t feel he was ready to go, he didn’t feel that he could sprint 100 percent. So we will see how he is, possibly Wednesday could be his debut.”

On snapping the losing skid:

“I think our guys were tired of what’s been going on. I think with Oba coming back and [the new additions], there was an uplifted mood. The attitude of the guys – we talked about it before the game – ‘Hey, it’s time. It’s time. There’s no more time to waste.’ I felt they responded well to it.”

On Oniel Fisher’s start:

“We like him – that’s the reason we drafted him. In preseason, I remember saying to Chris Henderson and Garth Lagerwey that this guy is going to help us. As the season goes on there will be a time when he is going to be able to help us. [He played] leftback, he is probably stronger at rightback than leftback, but I thought he played a very good, solid game. Defensively, we like a lot of things he gives. What I like about Oniel is that he is not in awe of the situation – he is going to come in and battle.”

On the shutout:

“It was nice. After the game, Stefan Frei came up to me and said, ‘Did you see my save?’ And I am looking at him perplexed and I said, ‘What save?’ And he said, ‘Exactly! I didn’t have any to make.’ So, yeah, it was nice. It was nice to get a clean sheet as well.”

On the fan support:

“We are very thankful to our fans who stood behind us through this very difficult stretch. I think oftentimes in a lot of cities, fans would turn on you. Our fans stayed behind us and kept believing in us. I am so happy we were able to reward them today. Their support is also why we’re sitting here talking about this win.”

SOUNDERS FC CAPTAIN BRAD EVANS

On the team’s performance:

“Good, yeah it was fine. Obviously with the red card that changes things, so not as much pressure for anybody to create but for the first 30-35 I though it was positive. We came out and had a lot of bite and we said before the game this is where the bleeding stops, is today. We’ve said that before and we came out kind of iffy, but today I thought everybody from minute one was on the same game plan and it paid dividends.”

On if a commanding shutout carries more weight than just three points:

“I think guys’ heads will be obviously up and looking forward to the next game, but most importantly is that this all stays even keel. When the lows are low it can’t be the world’s ending and when you win 4-0 and break a streak it can’t be we’re the best team in the world. I think guys are good enough and smart enough players to realize there’s still things to work on and we’re not always going to win 4-0. We’re going to have to come from behind but as long as we give effort and these guys play like they did today then we find ourselves with a good chance of getting into the playoffs.”

On Obafemi Martins’ presence:

“I think a player like that, it lifts us in a sense but a player like that demands respect from the other team. And a lot of teams have a striker up top where the forward is handled by one centerback, but Oba is a player where the team has a team-talk beforehand, and it’s the responsibility of both centerbacks and it’s also the responsibility of the defensive midfielder, and when that gets in the back of guys’ minds they start lose track of what else is going on on the field so it frees up a lot of space for everybody else. Tactically that part of the game is obviously great for having him on the field because it takes two-three guys to slow him down and a lot of heads turn when he touches the ball so he was also playmaking tonight. That was great so it’s good.”

On Nelson Valdez:

“Good player. Very good player. He’s like 5’9”-5’10” on a good day but he plays like he’s 6’3.” You can tell that he’s played in Bundesliga for as long as he has and that’s the demands of that league, is playing big and that’s huge in this league as well. It’s a very physical league and he held his own against two large centerbacks tonight, and obviously scoring the header shows his aerial ability. I thought he was very, very good today.”

SOUNDERS FC FORWARD OBAFEMI MARTINS

On how it feels to be back:

“I’m so excited to be back. Seeing the team, playing a game with the team, it’s been a while so I’m happy.”

On the second goal:

“I tried to do what I can and it happened to be perfect, so good luck to me. And yeah, scored a good goal.”

On playing with Valdez:

“I played with him at Rubin Kazan for a while, and played against each other, too, so we’re quite close.”

On if chemistry with Valdez carried over:

“We know each other. He’s a good guy, so yeah we’re happy to have him here. We can’t wait for Clint [Dempsey] to be back, as well, for the team to be more solid. We’re glad today that some of the other players scored, as well, so we’re happy to keep the three points at home.”

On how tough it was to watch the team lose:

“It’s pretty sad for the team losing a lot of games but I’m glad that I’m back that I’m back and we won which is good for me, the staff and the players, as well.”

On how he’s feeling:

“I’m a lot better; I’m a lot better and can’t wait to be better and try to do what I can to help the team.”

SOUNDERS FC FORWARD NELSON VALDEZ

On how he feels playing in his first match with Sounders FC:

“I just can’t really explain what I feel right now. Right from the beginning I fell in love with the fans, and I still have goosebumps from when I scored and saw all of the fans cheer with me.”

On the fans:

“Just to have an ambience like this after losing eight of nine games, I haven’t seen something like that. People here are very trustful.”

On being reunited with Obafemi Martins:

“It was a very good feeling. It brought back the feeling when we played together with Rubin Kazan, and I feel like we’re going to continue to play together like that, and it’s a very good feeling.”

On what the coaches see in him:

“I think the coaches trust my ability to hold the ball in front, my commitment to every single play and that I can exploit the speed from Oba.”

SOUNDERS FC DEFENDER ROMÁN TORRES

On how he feels in first match with Sounders FC:

“I felt very, very good – it helped that I felt the support of my teammates, and I feel very good that we were able to take the win with us.”

On the stadium atmosphere:

“It is just incredible, I have played in many other places – I have played in Colombia – but I have never seen something like this. It was very, very impressive.”

On playing against Kaká and maintaining the shutout:

“We knew that he is a very important player on their roster, so we knew we needed to be concentrated on him throughout the game to keep him at pace. It was very important for us to keep them at zero.”

On playing with Chad Marshall:

“I felt really good. It is all about communication and he understands a little bit of Spanish, so that helped a little bit, so we were able to communicate well and keep the clean sheet.”

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