Breaking: M's acquire Kendrys Morales from Twins in exchange for Stephen Pryor
By Sigi Schmid

We just arrived in Salt Lake for our game against Real. The flight was delayed by an hour but everything beyond that went smoothly. The team is relaxed but ready. You can sense the anticipation.

I was pleased with our last game in regards to our effort and commitment to the game. Rimando was on fire and played extremely well. We created chances from the run of play, Evans, Ochoa and Estrada as well as Tiffert. We also created chances on set pieces, Hurtado and Ochoa. We need to do the same on Thursday and we will be all right.

RSL is a good time with a lot of experience so it will not be easy. However, we are also a good team with a hunger to go beyond this round. We know it will not be easy but we are prepared for the task at hand.

It looks like the weather will hold, at least that is the forecast right now, but if it turns nasty we will be ready.

The final preparations are tonight with our team meeting and then our day-of-game routine to get us properly prepared. Sometimes I wish you could call timeout once the game begins like they do in basketball and football. Soccer is special because the players are prepared to carry the load.

Whether you are here in Salt Lake reading this or back in Seattle. Sit back and enjoy the game. It will be fun.

Take care,
Sigi


By Sigi Schmid

I know the blog is late this week, but I wanted to include the Salt Lake game results with this one. I am very proud of our team, which battled and played through the adversity of playing a man down and dealt with so many defenders who were injured.

Mike Seamon in his first action of the season did a great job, and Brad Evans filled in well as a center back. Michael Gspurning saved our bacon at the end of the game with some great saves.

But I do want to clarify the situation with the referee.

As a coach – and especially as coach of the Sounders – I know that refereeing is part of the game. I know there are good calls and bad calls and they tend to even out over the course of a season. We also are not a team that blames results on the outcomes of those decisions. When we play we need to use or overcome those decisions, but at the end of the day the game result is up to us, no one else. As a team we completely understand that.

On Wednesday, there was a misconception that I was unhappy about the red card to Zach Scott and that was the reason for my upset. I felt the first card was harsh but overall I did not have a lot of issues with the red card.

My issues were that there was no red card issued for the last-man foul on the RSL defender and the lack of a yellow when Evans in the second half and Christian Tiffert in the first half were pulled as they tried to run through. Very similar in nature to the first yellow for Scott. The consistency factor is important, and as a coach I need to fight for my team, which I do.

I apologize for protesting too loudly at halftime and after the game. It is an emotional game and emotion got the best of me. But it is important to remember two things:

1. We control our destiny, not the referee. That is how we approach every game.
2. I will always stand up for my team and push for consistency within a game that is officiated.

We play Dallas on Sunday and the earlier result in Vancouver will determine the complete importance of this game. We need a win to catch RSL. Come cheer us on. We need you and we appreciate you as always.

Take care.

By Sigi Schmid

The Cascadia Cup competition continues this week with Portland. We are very close to a sellout, so buy those remaining tickets and let's make this a sellout.

I knew this year that defending the Cascadia Cup title was going to be more difficult. The way the schedule worked out we had four games on the road and only two at home. Portland got four at home and two away. But we are right there to defend our title. We need to win on Sunday and then get some help from Vancouver. We are ready and cannot wait to take the field on Sunday.

Last week we clinched a playoff spot for the fourth year in a row and also got our first shutout in a while. That was the good news, but we also got shut out and we are not happy about that. We had chances, with Evans, Johnson, Montero, Parke and Zakuani getting close. This week we need to convert those chances to goals.

Even though we are going to the playoffs again, there is a resolve that I sense in this team that we want to accomplish more than last year. When we made the playoffs there were no celebrations like last year because that is not our end goal.

We have three home games in a row and want to maximize our points in those games. It starts Sunday with Portland. You buy the tickets and we will win the game. There is a lot of pride in our attacking players and they do not want to get shut out again. Thanks again for all your support and noise at all our home games. Let's keep the Cascadia Cup in Seattle.

Take care,
Sigi

By Sigi Schmid

It was nice to sleep in our own beds this past week. After all our travel that was an excellent change for us. This week we are at home again before we travel to Portland on Friday.

The win against Chivas was a good one for us. It was our first come-from-behind victory and it was great to see Montero and Johnson combine for the winner. A brilliant pass and a great header worked to perfection. It is difficult now for an opponent to shut us down. If they concentrate on Montero then Johnson is open and if they concentrate on Johnson then Montero is open. A nice place to be.

Our reserve team also won 4-2 on Sunday, so it was a successful weekend. We are now only six points behind San Jose and if they falter we hope to use that to our advantage.

This week we prepare for Portland, our rivals, and the Cascadia Cup game in Portland. We need to make amends for our first game down there. No matter what the records are these rivalry games are always tough. The best U.S. rivalry in soccer is Seattle-Portland.

We will prepare this week, but also take a couple of days off. After the Portland game we have to go seven days straight between games and travel. We also have a reserve game in Portland on Sunday and since we play in Honduras the following Tuesday our team selection for the reserve game will be severely impacted. We need to make sure we are fresh for the CCL game and also for the game against San Jose. The Portland reserve game will be a good test for our Academy players.

Hope to see many of you in Portland on Saturday. Thanks for your support this past weekend.

Take care,
Sigi

By Sigi Schmid

Well, last week was a long trip and then some. Traveling is great when you are on vacation and going to places you enjoy and can stay for a while with no time schedules.

That was not the case for us. Tuesday morning we got to the airport at 4:30 a.m. to leave for Houston, connected in Houston for Port of Spain in Trinidad, got delayed and arrived finally at 11:30 p.m. We got to our hotel, had dinner and went to bed around 2 a.m. Wednesday.

The next day we let the players sleep in, had breakfast at 11 a.m. before stretching at 3 p.m., then lunch and left for training at 5:30 p.m. The bus ride took over an hour. It only took 20 minutes to get back after training. The pleasures of traffic.

Thursday we played and won. It was important for our points in the group stage of this tournament. The game kicked off at 8 p.m. and we got back to the hotel around 11:30 p.m. It was the 50th year national independence day in Trinidad. The players had dinner and then we were up the next morning at 4:15 for a bus departure to the airport. But the bus never came, so we scrambled for cars to take the team and bags to the airport so we would not miss our flight.

Thank goodness for the efforts of Grant Clark and Vince Johnson and their quick thinking.

We connected in Miami and got into Dallas and its 100-degree heat on Friday at 3 p.m. We just left the 90-degree heat and 80 percent humidity of Trinidad. At 5:30 the players who started the night before did a regen training at the hotel and the others went to train on the Dallas training fields.

Saturday we got to sleep a full night and then trained at 11:30 a.m. on a high school field since there were no training fields for us at Pizza Hut Park. The school was very nice but the field was not the best, but training went okay. We had dinner and our video meeting that evening.

Sunday we played and then we had a normal night's sleep and left for the airport at 8:45 Monday morning to return to Seattle.

Want to join us on our next trip?

We eagerly await Chivas this Saturday, mainly because we are at home all this week. Look forward to seeing all of you, the best fans in America.

Take care,
Sigi

By Sigi Schmid

It has been awhile and we have traveled a lot and played some good games. Last Saturday was incredible.

The game had everything. It was end-to-end and had some first-class finishing on our part. Great hat trick by Montero. Johnson has been hot so teams started to focus on him and then Montero gets more space. Now with Montero hot, the focus will shift to him and then the space opens up for Eddie again. It is great to have two outstanding strikers.

We knew that Chivas would be a little desperate and throw a lot of players forward. That made it hard for our defense but allowed our offense to get some great chances. I hope you all enjoyed the six goals. I know I did.

This week is the travel week and we have two games to play. We leave Seattle on a 6 a.m. flight to arrive in Port of Spain in Trinidad at 9 p.m. A long day. We play Caledonia in the CCL game on Thursday and then fly to Dallas through Miami on Friday. Another early flight. Sleep is the most important thing for recovery and those early morning flights rob us of some important sleep. But we will make due and suck it up to compete in every game we play.

Watch us on the television and we feel your support always.

Take care
Sigi

By Sigi Schmid

It has been a couple of weeks and a lot has happened in the Sounders' world. There have been league games, cup games and also the international exhibitions. There have also been roster changes.

Me and the club are very sad to lose Alvaro Fernandez. He has been a good player and a good pro who helped the club achieve success in the Open Cup and also our league play. Unfortunately, with our league structure and our success it is often only possible to add something after we subtract something. We tried everything we could to add without having to let anyone go, but that was not possible. I wish "Flaco" all the best in Chicago and continued success.

At the same time we welcome Christian Tiffert. He has played central midfield and is a player with lots of experience in one of the toughest leagues in Europe. His Bundesliga experience will help us through tough game situations and improve us as a team. It will be fun integrating him into the team once his P-1 status is approved and he becomes eligible.

On the field we have turned our results in a more positive vein recently. Our win over Chivas in the Open Cup semifinal put us into our fourth consecutive Open Cup final. We look forward to our game in Kansas City. We also won on the road in Colorado, always a tough place to play. Having Michael Gspurning back in goal was great for our team. Our All-Stars, Osvaldo Alonso and Eddie Johnson, continue to play well and score goals which helps us generate wins.

This week we start Champions League play against Caledonia from Trinidad and Tobago. After that we play the LA Galaxy, who are red hot right now and playing well. It will be an exciting week and we look forward to seeing you all at CenturyLink. Sunday against the Galaxy will be a great game, but Thursday versus Caledonia will be a blast. If you have never been to a Champions League game, come to the game and enjoy competitive international soccer.

Take care,
Sigi

By Sigi Schmid

Time to get back to work.

It was nice to get a few days off to recharge the batteries and think less about soccer. I do not think I ever do not think about the sport and the team. I think the players enjoyed some time away as well.

Monday training was great. Time away is good but it is great to see each other again. We start another incredibly busy part of our schedule. Off to Montreal this weekend then home against Kansas City. Then we are gone for a week with games at Portland, San Jose and New England.

The Open Cup game will be tough with a game with less than 60 hours rest. At some point this rule needs to be looked at because we are putting our players into physical jeopardy. But it is what it is and we will be at our best for these games. We are a team and a franchise that gives nothing away easily.

The time away also has given our injured players some time to get healthier. They are all making progress and in the next two weeks we hope to get Gonzalez, Ianni and Johansson back into the fold. They need to get healthy and stay healthy but also regain their fitness. Michael Gspurning will start making progress next week and then we hope his return will make good progress. Our trainers and fitness coaches are busy.

I look forward to seeing all of you at our next home game on June 20. It seems like a long time since we have been at home and our team cannot wait to play in CenturyLink in front of all our fans. The Starfire Open Cup games are great and we enjoy the fans and the atmosphere, but time to get back to the work of MLS and the Link.

Take care,
Sigi

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