Sounders FC head coach Sigi Schmid conducted a teleconference with the media this afternoon.
The main revelations are that Christian Tiffert is not expected to join the squad this week. Schmid also suggested that it was a bad tackle by Revs AJ Soares that set the tone for the physical nature of the friendly.
He also revealed that Sounders had Discovery Rights to Mikael Silvestre and Portland did not inform them before he appeared in training there. He added that they did not make a fuss out of respect for the player.
Mario Martinez will join the squad today.He has 8 or 9 names penned into the Opening Day line up fitness permitting.
Transcriptions Below are from Sounders FC
(On the physicality of the game against New England…) “Sometimes games go that way. I always say […] games can take on their own personality. There was an early tackle in the game by A.J. Soares where he sort of came through Mauro Rosales right at midfield there. That was a little bit of a harsh tackle—Mauro was on the ground for a little bit of time, luckily he wasn’t hurt—and I think the game carried on from there. It’s just one of those games where it’s just the way it went. It’s certainly not something we want to have happen that way. We took Ozzie [Alonso] off the field at the point after his tackle. Obviously the last hard tackle in the game was [Sainey] Nyassi’s.”
(On how Mikael Silvestre ended up on trial with the team…) “It’s something that we worked out. We have the discovery [rights]on him, but [Portland] had brought him in. We felt that since he was here we should get a look at him, as well. They really didn’t talk to us before they had decided to bring him in. In deference to the player, we didn’t want to cause an issue with his trial with them, but we wanted to have a look at him. We saw him in that game [against Portland]and we were able to have him in and train with us, as well, and he played in the game for us [against New England].”
(On his plans for the game Saturday and next week…) “It’s probably going to be a bit of a mix Saturday for us. We tried to push our starters through 60 minutes or so in the game on Wednesday, but we’ll try and get them probably another 45 on Saturday, and then hold them until we play the Veracruz game on Friday. The reserves will play the second half [on Saturday], the reserves will play the majority of the minutes the following Wednesday, and then the following Saturday, as well.”
(On when Mario Martinez will join the team…) “Martinez should be here today. He had some things he had to take care of in Honduras before he came up, so he’s been able to take care of those and he’s on a plane and will be here tonight.”
(On playing Veracruz…) “There’s obviously a difference in quality between Tigres and Veracruz, just as there’s a difference in quality between Tigres and some other teams in the Mexican first division. What’s most important for us is to play a team that plays in the style of a Mexican team. Obviously with their schedule and their games, it was not going to be possible or feasible to bring one of the first division teams. We were fortunate last year when we got to play against Chiapas, but that wasn’t something that was going to work out this year, so we wanted to take the best alternative available to us. We felt playing Veracruz was a better option than playing maybe another team from a Central American country.”
(On balancing the preparation for the Champions League and the MLS season…) “It’s really one in the same. The MLS comes first for us, ahead of the Champions League games because it’s the first game we play. We’ve got to prepare for that game first and within that preparation we’re also preparing for the Champions League. It’s a little bit delicate in terms of, are we fit enough that early in the season that we can have guys play 90 minutes and 90 minutes within four days of each other already and be at a very high level? That’s something that we’re going to determine over the next 10 days or so. Maybe the opening game in MLS will be a bit of a mixed team than it maybe normally have been, but we’re really preparing for both at the same time.”
(On David Estrada’s performance yesterday at forward alongside Eddie Johnson…) “What David always brings is energy. That energy causes problems for an opponent’s defense. It unbalances them because there’s this guy who’s very active and who’s all over the place. It’s hard sometimes for the opponents to pick up, to mark, and sometimes he chases down even lost causes. The thing is he’s always in a position where if we get stuck, there’s somebody we can target a ball to who we know is going to put some pressure on the opponent and give us a chance—being able to get the ball out of our end of the field if we get stuck with it. I thought David did a good job. I thought he made some good runs, was active, created some space for Eddie, as well, with the work that he did.”
(On Kevin Durr joining the team and his availability to the team…) “He’s on a break right now where he’s allowed to train with us for a few weeks without impacting his schooling at the Air Force Academy. For him, we just wanted to take a look at him. It’s a difficult situation for him and a little unfair for him because we’ve already been going for two-three weeks and for him to catch up with the speed of play, especially coming from a team like Air Force, is difficult. He’s going out, he’s working hard every day, and we really haven’t pursued the next step at this point. It’s something that we’ll talk about probably towards the end of this week.”
(On Djimi Traore’s status with the team…) “He’s a player that we’re looking at. I think he’s done well in the two games that he’s played, so we’ll continue to look. I know there’s talks that are in the process, but what the results of that will be I’m not sure.”
(On the play of Eriq Zavaleta and Dylan Remick…) “We know Eriq is going to be on our team. He’s a Generation adidas guy. He got a little bit of a tweak in training, so we sort of have been a little cautious with him. Also on the standpoint of we want to look at some other players in certain positions, and we know he’s going to be with us. I think Dylan Remick has done well, also, and he’s a guy that we definitely want to keep. Again, we’re looking at some other people that we’re making decisions on. Sometimes the lineups that we put out there aren’t necessarily a reflection of the current depth ranking within the team. It’s more a situation of, ‘OK, we need to look at these guys and make a decision here because we’ve already made some decisions here.’ You can’t read too much into it.”
(On the expectations for Eddie Johnson this season…) “I don’t like to make predictions for guys because if they want to put themselves under pressure I think that’s better than me trying to put them under pressure. I think for Eddie, last year playing with [Fredy] Montero—Montero drew a lot of attention, as well, and Eddie helped draw some attention away from Montero. It’s still a reflection of who’s going to be his partner up there, how is that going to work at the end of the day? Does Eddie have the potential to score 20 goals? Yes he does. Is it going to happen? I’m not sure. What’s most important for us is that we score goals to win. If it’s a situation where Eddie gets 20 assists instead of 20 goals, I probably wouldn’t argue with that. He needs to be involved in our goal scoring opportunities and that’s what he did yesterday. The free kick that that led to the penalty kick was a foul that was committed on him, and then he scored the other goal. Both our goals he had a hand in, and that’s what I expect from Eddie every game—that he allows us to be dangerous and puts us into situations where we can score goal. Whether he scores, whether he sets them up, whether he gets fouled in the box, whatever the case may be it really doesn’t matter. I don’t want to put that pressure on him.”
(On the play of Mauro Rosales…) “Mauro has done well. We’ve been very happy with how he came in this season in terms of his fitness and he continues to work there so we’re very pleased with that. Obviously he hit the free kick that led to the penalty kick. He’s always involved in our dangerous attacking sequences that we have and he’s a player who—he and Steve Zakuani and Eddie are players that we need to get the ball to. For things to happen and good things to happen for our team we need to get the ball to them”
(On how many of his starting lineup he knows already…) “We obviously have an idea. For some of the guys, a lot of it depends on health and everything else. We’re probably sure of about eight or nine guys at this stage that we feel pretty confident unless there’s somehow a drop off in performance or a rapid successive performance of someone else. We probably know about eight or nine.”
(On the team adjusting without Fredy Montero…) “The team is going to have to adjust a bit because he’s been such a big part of our offense. It changes us a little bit. Some might think it changes us positively from the standpoint of maybe we get a little more speed up front, maybe it’s a situation where we can be a little more direct at times when that’s called for. It also hurts us a little it because Fredy provided us with really good hold-up play and allowed people to get forward and allowed us to act as a group, and was a player who could score some goals that not a lot of people could score. It’s going to take Zakuani coming back into form and scoring goals. I think we’re going to have to see more goals from our wide players this year than we saw last year, and getting more goals from midfield, as well.”