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From the Sounders' locker room ...
March 20th, 2009 9:15AM
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Hard as it is to believe, Seattle coach Sigi Schmid said the Sounders' resounding performance in its opening game is only a start. He said the Sounders will get better as they develop a better understanding. MLS, watch out!


(On the game) "The beauty in any game is in the final result and it was a beautiful final result. Three-nothing at home in the opener for this franchise and MLS. The crowd was outstanding. The atmosphere was tremendous. It was everything you dreamed of. We talked about it before the game with the team. We said what an incredible feeling it's going to be when you walk in this locker room at the end of the game with your first win in Sounders' history. And they all had that feeling. I thought we were opportunistic. Was it the best game? No, I think we'll play better. We'll get our understanding down even better. I thought we did some things very well and some things we still got to work on. We were opportunistic and finished our goals. Tremendous finishing by Fredy Montero, on the last goal especially against the run of play. I couldn't be more pleased."

(On the play of Fredy Montero) "That just opens up spaces for other people. Fredy was the marked man going into this game ."

(On the play of others) "I thought Osvaldo (Alonso) and Brad Evans both played very well, They kept (Jorge) Rojas out of the game pretty much Talked about that an awful lot. Best way to shut down [Juan Pablo] Angel was to shut down [Jorge] Rojas and I thought Zach Scott with help from [Sebastien] Le Toux did a very good job on [Dane] Richards as result limited Juan Pablo's ground because the service got cut out. Osvaldo was tremendous, Brad Evans covers a ton of ground as well. Together, they bring a tremendous work ethic every day to the game."

(On the matchup of Jhon Kennedy [Hurtado] and Juan Pablo)  "Because we knew they were going to play 4-5-1 and play one high, I said to Tyrone [Marshall], whenever they play one high, have John Kennedy mark and you stay free. [As] Jhon Kennedy learns English it's easier for Tyrone to direct as free man. They did a pretty good job of that all night. For Jhon Kennedy, El Presidente, I'm sure it was a tremendous thrill to have Colombians play against a player of the stature of Juan Pablo Angel, so I'm sure he was extremely motivated."

(On the crowd and atmosphere) "We want to make this a fortress and today was the first step in that direction. This is gibing to be a place in MLS where teams are going to have to think twice about coming in here to play. It has atmosphere, it's loud, I told Brad Evans after game we have to start working on hand signals because 'I can't hear a thing you're saying, coach.' I've never had a player say that to me in any MLS stadium. From that standpoint, it certainly shows crowd was definite factor. Uniqueness of soccer is there's a connectivity and interaction between crowd and players, and I think you felt that today."

(On being aggressors from the first minute) "We wanted to play the ball and get the ball in behind them and try to stretch them early. I thought they probably had more possession than we did at times and were able to move the ball a little bit better. But I thought we were dangerous off the counter. And we were dangerous off turnovers. As our cohesion and continuity and passing ... gets better we'll be able to maintain more possession. I thought Sanna Nyassi caused a lot of problems for them in first half. Got behind them, that was definitely a thing that bothered them. Sebastian on the other side couldn't get forward quite as much cause he was helping quite a lot with Richards. But he also found opportunities to go forwards. But I thought we were dangerous, definitely."

(On Kasey Keller) "Kasey's play, obviously that's what we want from him. He came up with a really big save in the second half there when they got in and I just turn to people and say that's the goalkeeper's job. He's supposed to stop those things. That's the reason we pay him money. What you don't see or hear is how positive he is with his back four. He's getting them to do things, but he's always very positive at pumping them up. He's not one of those goalkeepers who points fingers or rants and raves. I see a lot of goalkeepers when a mistake happens they're pointing fingers and embarrassing players and I don't like that Kasey does a good job of constantly encouraging his defenders and getting them to get reorganized and do the job in front of him  He's a very important cog of our team in the back."

(On winning the opener): "I have a sigh or relief every time I win a game. Certainly nerves went into it. As we warmed up today, some 5-v-5, I told the guys butterflies are normal. If you don't feel them, you're not alive. Getting it behind us, getting first game, everything that was surrounding, everyone can now settle in and it becomes part of the regular work ethic we have to do. Certainly sigh of relief, but also a huge smile in terms of what happened tonight."

(On the 3 Amigos) "The 3 Amigos were good. They were very good. It took Fredy out at end of game [for] two reasons. I wanted Roger Levesque, who has been with the Sounders a long time, to be able to say he got in the first game, and I also as I told Fredy, I wanted him to hear the crowd. I wanted him to hear the crowd and hear the fans and hear the appreciation. Didn't want to pull him out too early because he might have been mad, because I might have kept him away from a hat trick. But Fredy was tremendous. Alonso was tremendous especially getting a yellow card as early as he did and still being able to play tough defense without picking up another card was great. Jhon Kennedy was good as well. I thought Tyrone Marshall was very good. Today, I thought his organization in the back and stepping up, he always had to pick up the free guy that came in therein the first half, and he did a great job of that."

(On scoring three and giving up none) "Any time we can score three goals and not give the other ones any, I'm very happy with that. As I said, I've been coaching too long to say this was an artistically beautiful performance or we dominated the game. At the same token, it's something that's going to get better. I always say the game of soccer is real simple in my mind. It's a turnover sport. It's how quickly do you react to turnovers. Teams that react to turnovers and adjust the quickest, offense to defense, defense to offense, are the best teams. The other thing that happens in soccer is every team has a period where they dominate the game. And you got to make sure you don't give up goals when they dominate, which we did when New York was dominating those 20 minutes in the second half we did a good job of not giving goals and we have to score goals when we dominate and we were able to score goals in the first 20 minutes of the game, first 25 when we dominated. That's what game of soccer is all about. We'll play better and better soccer. Obviously, still some pieces missing today. [Steve] Zakuani coming off ankle injury, Fredy Ljungberg also makes a difference to our team."

(On very first game in Seattle as Colombian player in this city and the people here) "I already liked  Seattle. Now I like it even more. Support of fans was incredible, more than expected. We were there to make them happy and meet their expectations."

(On scoring first goal and being the star of the game and star of the night) "First, thank God for the opportunity, but also to thank the entire team and the coaches and the fans for their support. Obviously, this is the start of big things. Now, be prepared for even more."

(On comparing this game to games you've had in Colombia: "Not much comparison. Soccer played in Colombia is very different from MLS. But I am getting used to the dynamic and strength of the players and the speed of the game. And it's almost going to be an evolution to get even better adapted to the game and contributing to the fans and to the rest of the team and the team dynamics."

(On today's game) "Obviously everybody from the players and the staff, and want to give a huge thanks to the city and the fans to make it a tremendous atmosphere for all of us. I know there are a lot of players and a lot of players on the New York team who are extremely envious of what we have here. Big thank you."

(On the best part of today's game) "The coolest part for me after spending my whole career in Europe I was very nervous about coming home and being let down. Just kind of thinking 'Why did I come home for this?' But what was so tremendous about everything that I've had so far from the professionalism to the training facilities to the excitement of the city to now the unbelievable vocalness, if that's a word, of the fans tonight. I know the Seahawks talk about the 12th Man. I don't know what our catch phrase is going to be, but there's probably not a better atmosphere in soccer in America. It's a huge honor to be a part of that and it just makes that transition for me so much easier."

(On if it could have been better) "No. You couldn't have written it any better. Yeah. We could have won four-nil. That would've been about the only thing that could've made it better. For me obviously the win is paramount. You get a good two-nil lead. How many times do you concede a goal and look over your shoulder. They put us under a little bit of pressure midway through the second half and we rode that pressure well. We knew that the speed and offensive power that we have that if they have to chase the game against us and leave gaps in the back, we have the players to take advantage of that. I think we had opportunities to make it more than three.  From Adrian [Hanauer] and Joe [Roth] that we want good exciting soccer. I knew there was times where maybe our passing wasn't quite as crisp and good. But you're never going to come away from tonight's game and say 'we didn't put the ball in their half and try to score goals.' We got three of them tonight and I think there's going to be more to come in the future."

(On the fact that he hadn't touched the ball yet) "I was excited. I was so happy. As a goalkeeper you work all training and you are always organizing. Tonight I said to the guys 'there's going to be an atmosphere tonight that you're not going to hear me. Because you're not going to hear me shout anyway unless you are ten feet away from me.' All that work is done on the field. So the guys know what's expected. And at times you have to yell at them and you do. But for the most part I was so proud of the guys in front of me, because the first half I was a spectator. That's the way I like it. If I can just have to make a save here and there, and organize, then we're going to win a lot of games."

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