Real Salt lake General Manager Garth Lagerwey still has the goalkeeper in him. He may not be quite as agile as in his playing days, but he interviews like a goalkeeper; a breed that more often than not addresses the beautiful game through a lens of humour.
After he gave up protecting the net from the bad guys, he joined the other side and became a lawyer. To the insanity of the goalkeeping profession, was added a lawyers’ quick wit. So he has the ability to avoid saying anything of consequence but not the desire.
Interviews with Lagerwey therefore often take on lives of their own. In among this Q & A that we did, he found himself addressing the philosophy of Emmanuel Kant and his own Calvinist background to MLSSoccer.com analyst Matt Doyle.
We thought we had it back on track but events and Mr Lagerwey, as it transpired, had other ideas.
It all started out so well. We started off by asking him if his squad was as prepared as they seemed to be after the session.
Garth Lagerwey: We hope so. That’s all you can say at this point. Our guys are loose. They’re ready. They’ve been in this situation before. They’ll go out and do the best they can. We’ll fight.
Prost Amerika: There are various possible reactions to four goalless draws. Obviously defenders and the keeper are happy. Forwards less so What’s your point of view.
Garth Lagerwey: ’m a former keeper remember so, with four shut outs in a row, it’s hard to be too tough. It’s a very hard fought series and I suspect one goal will probably decide it. I think goals will not only be at a premium but avoiding mistakes will be as well, because if somebody slips up, that could be all she wrote for either team. It could go either way.
Prost Amerika: Last time this club was under pressure to get a goal wasn’t that far away, against Herediano – and it didn’t happen. How is this going to be different and what did you learn?
Garth Lagerwey: I think, you learn from every game from every experience. If you weren’t successful at something.. I think you saw us respond pretty well. We were obviously able to go away and get a result in Seattle, so our guys haven’t put their heads down. Then again, we’ve been in this situation a lot of times; at Saprissa, at Monterrey; there’s some pretty hostile places we’ve played. So I think being able to come out of Seattle with a 0-0, and to be able to come out here in front of our home crowd, I think we’re optimistic.
Prost Amerika: At what time last night did you stop thinking about politics and start thinking about football?
Garth Lagerwey: Aah (smiles) , as a DC lawyer, I must say that I spent a lot of time on the politics last night and I woke up with a smile on my face. That’s speaking for me personally and not for the club. But I had a little fun with that for sure.
Prost Amerika: Having been there on Saturday and seen the club, what do you think are the greatest strengths and weaknesses of Sounders FC?
Garth Lagerwey: I don’t think they have a lot of weaknesses. I’ll tell you that. Obviously some very very dangerous strikers up top. Particularly if Eddie Johnson is healthy. Their backs have obviously shut us out three times. Mike Gspurning is the lowest goals against in the league so the only one in the building that identified that our goalkeeper had a broken nose when the crowd was booing him. I have no criticism there only praise. And in the midfield you know you got Rosales an MVP candidate, and Evans and maybe Mario Martinez; and Tiffert a DP and Osvaldo Alonso who always plays well against us.
You just go man for man and there’s no weakness there. I said before the play-offs started that s eries in the Western Conference decided by a single goal would be a rout because most of the series will be decided by overtime or penalties. That’s how closely matched San Jose, LA, Seattle and we are, and it’s just come to come down to, as I said earlier, one mistake. It’s a team taking one opportunity to maybe making a great play. I think it’s stating the obvious when you say these times are razor tight.
I think we’ve played ten games and we’re one goal apart when we’ve played one another, not just this year. I think we’re .500 against Seattle in our building even. It’s too close to call and we have a ton of respect for their organisation. The reason they play us so tough is that they are organised the right way and they’re managed the right way and they pick good players. Hopefully we can beat them on Thursday.
Prost Amerika: Again as an ex-goalkeeper. If it does go to a penalty shoot out, what are the strengths and weaknesses of the two combatants?
Garth Lagerwey: Nick Rimando has the highest percentage save history against penalties. So I wouldn’t want to face that if I were them.
Prost Amerika: And Gspurning?
Garth Lagerwey: To be fair I don’t know Gspurning’s history and maybe it’s exemplary as well. He’s been good at everything else and he’s a good shot stopper. I just don’t know what his history is in that situation. I do know Nick’s and he’s the best ever. I’ll take Nick.
Prost Amerika: So if it goes to penalties, will you do a Mitt Romney and offer Adrian Hanauer a $10,000 bet?
Garth Lagerwey: (laughter) First of all, I’m trying to remember who he made that bet to; Rick Perry right? The relative skills might be Adrian as Romney and me as Rick Perry. I wish I had $10,000 to do anything with. I’d jump out of a plane if somebody gave me $10,000. Seriously we have a very good relationship with Sounders and their booth is right next to where we sit so maybe I’ll reach out the window and
At that point, Trey Fitz-Gerald; RSL media officer interjected to assure us the RSL and Sounders booths were actually two apart
Garth Lagerway: Trey’s separated us, .. the wet blanket.
Trey Fitz-Gerald: (points at Prost reporter) He’s the one that compared you to Romney!
Garth Lagerway: (laughs) It’s all good. If it goes to penalties, may the best team win.
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