MLS: Quotes from April 27 media teleconference

The following are quotes from the April 27 MLS media teleconference, which featured MLS Commissioner Doug Logan, MLS Executive Vice President Ivan Gazidis, Los Angeles Galaxy Head Coach Sigi Schmid and New England Revolution Head Coach Walter Zenga. Doug Logan Opening Remarks "I'd like to welcome Sigi Schmid to the MLS coaching fraternity ... He did such a great job at UCLA and with the United States U-20 national team in Nigeria ... "We thought last week given what had occurred in Littleton, and given the fact that other Denver-area teams had similarly elected not to play, that it was inappropriate to play a soccer match in Denver last week ... Chicago and Colorado will be announcing a make-up date and the Rapids will be wearing a commemorative patch to promote safety in the schools ... " "Several goalkeepers continue to excel ... We currently have six 'keepers with a GAA of 1.00 per game or under ... " "With 10 goals in five games last weekend, we are still lacking offensive punch, but there were no shootouts this past weekend ... " "In our nationally-televised ESPN game, Tampa Bay with Carlos Valderrama at the MetroStars, earned a .62 rating (466,932 households) ... That represents the third highest-rated regular-season MLS contest on ESPN during our history." Ivan Gazidis opening remarks "We don't like seeing our goals per game average down a bit from last year, but I was at a game Saturday night (New England at D.C. United) that was a great advertisement for what our league is about ... The New England Revolution look radically different than in the past and really took the game to D.C. United ... Ivan McKinley's first goal is a MasterCard Goal of the Year candidate ... I'd like to commend Walter Zenga for the job he's done in New England and giving the wonderful fans up there what they deserve." Sigi Schmid opening remarks "I'm excited to be part of MLS and the Galaxy ... My first few days have been good except for driving the wrong way on the freeway ... I'm pleased with game Saturday against San Jose ... We produced a number of chances, but scored just one goal ... This week is interesting because I haven't talked to Bora in two months but I'm looking forward to seeing him again on Saturday at Giants Stadium ... We're excited and we're getting healthier with the return of Robin Fraser and Danny Pena and we as a team are getting more stable." Logan on Carlos Valderrama's reassignment to Tampa Bay last week "Tampa Bay was the appropriate team to reassign Carlos to, as a consequence of the Mutiny's won-loss record ... They wanted to accommodate Miami and the league but the fact that they hadn't won a game was the driving force ... Carlos was willing to play for any other team in the league ... We stepped in on Friday ... We thought we had a trade that could be consummated by the end of the day on Wednesday, as I said on last week's conference call ... I had as much patience as I could with the situation ... Differences between (Miami Head Coach Ivo) Wortmann and Valderrama appeared to be irreconcilable and when the trade was not going to happen I had to step in and make sure that Carlos would be in uniform by the weekend ..." "If there was any hope to working it out between Ivo and Carlos or a trade between the Fusion and someone else, then I would have waited ... I went down there earlier in the week, and there was no likelihood of reconciliation or a trade ... Instead of letting the situation fester, I had to step in ... Last year with Carlos Valderrama and Ivo Wortmann's standoff before the All-Star Game, I did a considerable job of letting things work themselves out ..." Logan on foreign replacement "We've had a series of wide-ranging discussions on Fusion's needs ... Their actions seem validated by their Won-Loss record since going to their new style (2-0) without Valderrama ... I'm sure that Ivo would prefer an American national team player, but we don't have a half-dozen of those guys just hanging around the league office waiting to be assigned ..." "It's not going to happen today or the next day ... Relinquishing a player to acquire salary cap room in those leagues that have that is not unheard of... Ivo has good chemistry going and we are talking with him on a daily basis ... We don't have a list of specific players from Miami ..." "Other teams have tried without success to have the league 'get rid of' unwanted players ... When you do those things, there is some risk that others will want us to do the same thing ... I was compelled in this situation and it is something I hope that I never am forced to do again ..." Gazidis on Michael Mason or David Regis going to Miami "Miami has not said that they specifically want (U.S. national team pool players David) Regis or (Michael) Mason, although I imagine that they would be interested if the two players were available ... David is under contract in France ... We are always interested in a player of David's caliber ... and the situation is the same with Michael's team in Germany ... It is not clear at this time if a deal is doable for either player to come to MLS." Logan on 1999 bright spots for MLS "The level of play is very good ... We have 2-3 teams, including Walter's team in New England, along with those in San Jose and the MetroStars, which have turned things around and gone through the first stage of a successful rebuilding process ... Columbus and their stadium is the brightest spot of the season that we have to look forward to ... Our season tickets league-wide are up 7-8% and could end up 10% higher when the teams are done selling." Gazidis on 1999 bright spots for MLS "There are very positive things from the competitive standpoint ... The Dallas progression and the continued impact of young players in the league are other positive developments in addition to what Doug mentioned ... We all wish the goal count was higher, but that will improve as the season goes on." Schmid on the timing of leaving UCLA "It was an opportunity to coach in Los Angeles without relocating my family... I have made a commitment to not leaving the area until my 7th -grade son gets to high school." Schmid on Galaxy scoring doldrums "Our directness of play needs to improve ... We play too much with the ball in front of the opponent's defense more than I would like ... I am seeing players for the first time this week in training ... This weekend's lineup will be comparable to what you saw last weekend, but as the season goes on I'm not tied to a set lineup." Schmid on Bora's gamesmanship "I know Bora well and we'll talk before the game ... He doesn't want to give away too much ... I'm looking forward to seeing him again ... He wants to win and he'll grab anything he can ... I learned a lot from him at World Cup '94." Walter Zenga on the addition of former Revolution/Mutiny forward Giuseppe "Beppe" Galderisi as an assistant "I wanted Beppe from last summer because we have great relationship ... We understand things about soccer ... Now I can split my job for myself to play and during the game he can coach ... He has my mentality ... We talk about substitutions before the game ... He has my complete trust ... And I think everyone sees that the result is good." Zenga on the Revolution's upcoming game against Colorado "It's an important game ... Me and Beppe want our team to stay at a high level ... The difficulty is to stay at the same level ... Colorado and Miami come and play at our stadium in front of our fans, and lose or win it can change the face of our season." Logan on the riskiness of being an MLS coach "I was one of 12 second lieutenants that went to Vietnam and the only one to make it back, so that's risky ... All I can say is that coaching is a job where you experience great joys at great risk ... There is a compelling reason why talented people want to coach ... It is a job with great highs and great lows ... It is unique when compared to other jobs in that you have an instant report card ... You find out right away whether you are any good ... There are three ways to classically change a team: you can change the coach, players or management ... The coaching profession is interesting as they get too much credit for wins and too much blame for losses ... Patience is the watchword ... It is an occupation not without risks." Logan on MLS coaches' need for self-preservation "Early season stats indicate that defense is a priority, and we're keeping our eye on it ... We don't see it as a long-term problem ... I don't think they feel pressured to play a wide-open game ... There hasn't been a long-term change in style or philosophy ... We have six 'keepers who are playing well, defenses are organized ... It's too early to draw conclusions." Schmid on MLS coaches' need for self-preservation "We're trying to work on getting forward and getting behind the defense ... We want to score goals and we want those opportunities ... The finishing is sometimes off even when the chances are there." Zenga on MLS coaches need for self-preservation "Soccer is strange ... Sometimes you have many chances and do not score, other times you need only one chance to win the game ... I always try to win the game ... You look at the opposing players and try and figure out what to do to win." Zenga on the popularity of his defensive "catenaccio system" "It doesn't matter what you call my system ... In the last 20 minutes against D.C., we played with (forward Tony) Kuhn, forward (Joe-Max) Moore, (attacking midfielder Johnny) Torres ... If this is catenaccio, then? ... You must defend in Europe, because ties get you points ... Here it is different ... Me and Beppe, we think about defending but also about scoring." Zenga on trading Moore to the Miami Fusion (as rumored) "It's simple ... I have interest in Moore, too ... If (Fusion Head Coach) Ivo wants, he can trade for Zenga! ... Moore is going to stay with me." Logan on the Metros fourth foreigner "It's still in the hands of the team ... The coach and general manager want to assess the roster that they have ... We have a continual dialogue ... They haven't decided on what position they want to fill." Logan on the Giants Stadium crowd of 23,000+ "It was okay ... I wasn't disappointed or elated by it ... from the logistics standpoint, the one-and-a-half hours between games (MetroStars and U.S. women's national team doubleheader) was not conducive to an event atmosphere... Television requirements dictated the spacing of the games." Logan on Fusion attendance "I continue to be concerned ... It's an issue ... Let's hope they have a successful road trip and come back to South Florida with more fans coming to their games ... I was concerned before and I'm concerned now." Logan on D.C. United at Chicago this weekend "I heard the field (at Soldier Field) is a lot better, that they've improved it ... It was one of the better fields last season ... I hope that it continues to improve ... The game is one of the blue-chip matches this weekend ... Los Angeles is at New York also ... (Fire General Manger) Peter Wilt has been aiming at this game for some time ... I expect attendance in the mid-20,000 range ... At this time of year attendance is weather-dependent in a place like Chicago."
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