Tag Archive | "Sigi Schmid"

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Unfinished Business – San Jose 1 Seattle 0

Posted on 22 May 2010 by Kyle Alm

Stuff like this caught Schmid's ire...

San Jose took three points on the road at Qwest Field and all it took was three shots. The Quakes put one shot on goal in the 11th minute and that was all that it took. The ball was crossed by Brandon McDonald from the far right all the way across, past James Riley and Bobby Burling, dropping to a wide-open Chris Wondolowski who did not leave any doubt that he can finish.

Sounders got behind the high back-line of the San Jose Earthquakes, won 11 corners (one shy of the team record for all you stat nerds), took 18 shots but only manage three shots on frame.

There were many positive things about the match. Nyassi was productive and his replacement also did quite well. Gonzalez and Riley were able to contain Gjertsen and Convey respectively, certainly a big key to the game and probably why San Jose only managed three shots. Sounders not only took a fairly large number of corner kicks but they looked in control and turned corner kicks into scoring opportunities.

Finishing, remains the team’s bugaboo. Blaise N’kufo simply cannot get here soon enough.

The real bombshell hit at the press conference when Sigi Schimd made several overtures that are seemingly directed at Freddie Ljungberg, wondering why unnamed players throw up their hands when there is a bad pass or arguing with the referee when the play is going on. Freddie Ljungberg, you are no longer in the good graces of Sigi Schmid and are officially on notice.

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Michael Fucito Goal Celebration

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Fucito winner saves Sounders at Qwest

Posted on 18 April 2010 by Kyle Alm

The gray Seattle sky served as an appropriate backdrop for the Sounders on Saturday. Both teams started quickly in the first half and had chances to score, but the game became quite slow with both teams seemingly content to play from their defensive half when the other team had the ball. After 91 minutes of dreary dullness that seemed so pervasive during the Sounders vs Kansas City match a single bright spot stood out. Michael Fucito netted his first goal as a Sounder after coming on in the 85th minute for Steve Zakuani. It was first goal that Kansas City has allowed all season, first goal in stoppage time in Sounders history, and probably the first assist off of a throw-in. Evans to Fucito. Substitute to substitute.

“I saw Brad had the ball and I just kind of ran through trying to stretch them. It was a great throw great pass, and I turned and I was one on one with the goalie, hit it, and you know, I finished it well, it was unbelievable.”

Michael Fucito goal celebration

The fans at Qwest erupt as Michael Fucito scores the winner in the 92nd minute.

I wonder if the Wizards defenders are going to receive calls from their old coaches asking them about how Fucito got so open? Fucito had no one around him and only needed one touch to beat Jimmy Nielsen for the winner. Fans at Qwest who had been loud all game suddenly exploded with delight.

But it only took a few moments for the Sounders to show weakness as Kansas City promptly came down and shot the ball just wide of Kasey Keller’s post. That would have been a major letdown. Talk about the air going out of the building. Questions galore at that point.

There are still plenty of questions about the starting lineup that the Sounders put on the pitch. Ljungberg was not sharp today, nor was he sharp against Real Salt Lake last week. His touch was heavy, he isn’t going to beat anyone off the dribble and his passing was off. He was called offsides at a point late in the game that cost the Sounders a scoring opportunity. Sounders coach Sigi Schmid in his post-game statement was quick to mention how well Vagenas controls the ball in midfield and how important it was to his game plan against KC. It worked. Despite a couple of dangerous turnovers that lead to KC chances. Still Vagenas’ mistakes didn’t hurt, so he can be forgiven.

Now that we are four games into the season I’ll revisit my Seven questions for the Seattle Sounders 2010 Season post from the beginning of the season.

Nate Jaqua: I’ve heard he’s “training,” but he’s not going to be playing real soon, probably in a couple of weeks. Hasn’t had a chance to produce.

James Riley: Riley has been solid since he has been back. He does give players a lot of space up til the edge of the box. Hasn’t hurt him consistently that I can tell.

Fredy Montero: Has really improved getting the ball to his teammates with the exception of Freddie Ljungberg. For some reason the two best players on the pitch are never on the same page. He’s got assists and goals and will be in the running for a Golden Boot if he doesn’t transfer to CSKA Moscow or wherever the next rumor takes him.

Steve Zakuani: Major improvement, may be having the best season of any Sounder, Montero has a major stake in that argument. But Zakuani hasn’t shown any signs of slowing down. That yellow card today was silly, he should have put his hands on the ref. In his defense the ref did come towards him and I think Zakuani was letting him know he was close enough, but I digress. Zakuani is a dangerous player and has continued to show improvement from game to game.

Freddie Ljungberg: Truculent at times, talks to the ref too much, and hasn’t been able to sync up with Montero well, which is a tragedy when you think about how much better the team would be. In the past I thought that the problem was with Montero not releasing the ball early enough or not looking for passes but I am wondering if Freddie Ljungberg has more to do with it that I would like to admit.

Kasey Keller: Solid in goal. As usual. No worries there.

Corner Kicks & Set Pieces: Ugh. This needs it’s own post later this week devoted to this subject. I’ll just say that they are probably productive compared to the rest of the league and are really lacking in creativity, there are few instances where the ball doesn’t go exactly where you expect it to. A little misdirection can be a good way to find some space.

Rookie Class: Fucito got us three points today, I’d say that the 2010 Rookie Class for the Sounders is meeting or exceeding expectations for being productive. Estrada hasn’t had a breakthrough yet. Fucito remarked that his second game was a more settled affair for him. The same will also be true for Estrada .

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MLS refs need to stop hack-a-Freddie/Fredy tactics

Posted on 27 July 2009 by Kyle Alm

Freddie Ljungberg is fourth in MLS in fouls suffered with 38 fouls suffered in 14 matches. Fredy Montero has the suffered the second highest number of total fouls in Major League Soccer, with 42 in 16 matches. Despite the high number of calls the Swede does get, the Sounders captain is known to voice his opinion in the referee’s ear every match about the calls that don’t go his way.

The general strategy against the Sounders seems to be to hack at Montero and Ljungberg persistently and expect that the referee can’t or won’t make every call.

Ljungberg may be deserving of more calls. Like the Dynamo, Chicago Fire put a lot of physical pressure on the Sounders early. There were some early retaliatory fouls and a lot of playing through the backs of players that wasn’t called. The physical play continued to escalate throughout the match and most of it was allowed.

I disagree with people who say that calling too many fouls slow the match down. I tend to place the blame on the fouls themselves. Fouls need to be called and if correct call is made consistently fouling should decline. The beautiful simplicity of the match is that if you make an attempt to play the ball you are most likely in the clear. If you attempt to play the player, it’s a foul. Refs need to call fouls and give cards before players begin to retaliate against each other.

These are professional players who have played their entire lives and they know when they get fouled, and they have a pretty good idea of when a play is malicious, honest, or ‘professional.’

The dive is another matter. There is altogether too much diving in soccer at every level and it needs to stop. Giving a yellow card is appropriate punishment.

Freddie Ljungberg went mad after being called for a dive just outside of the Chicago Fire’s penalty area. He could not believe it. Upon the replay it was clear that Ljungberg was barely impeded outside of the box and tried to play the referee for another call. The Swede received his second yellow for petulance. The Sounders relinquished their man advantage over the Fire merely five minutes after John Thorrington was sent off for his second yellow.

Sigi Schmid later said that he knew it was coming as soon as Thorrington was sent off.

Referees really get tired of complaining. Ljungberg lost his composure completely in a match where he had been hacked at persistently. A critical advantage for a crucial three points would have leveled Seattle and first place Houston on the table were lost on Ljungberg’s outburst.

But what does it take to get called for a dive? Is it persistence? With the advantage of hindsight the referee should have let it go as a no-call as a mere embellishment. There were easily three other instances of Fire players going to the turf as easily as Ljungberg had. It was certainly embellished, I won’t say that it was a dive, but Ljungberg went to turf easily, but there were more incriminating instances of diving than that play. You need only mention the name ‘Blanco.’

The Sounders FC and their fans should expect more from the designated player than that. Ljungberg needed to keep his cool and try and win his club three points especially since he would be missing the next match because of his accumulated yellow cards now totaled five.

Aside from the shear spectacle of the Brougham End’s and their protest of Qwest Field Security, the amount of cards handed out, near misses and drama of a match with another league leader, it was quite a memorable nil-nil draw. The posts were lucky to be standing by the end of that match. After both players had been sent off there was still plenty of action. Montero nearly had the winner and a share the league’s goal lead with a strike that rocketed past Jon Busch and of the corner of the frame in the 80th minute. And a similar response from the Fire’s Prideaux who responded with a header off that bounced back into play off of Kasey Keller’s frame.

Not to mention Jacqua’s inability to finish a goal. He had no less than three wonderful opportunities to score point blank that all went begging.

Instead all anyone wants to talk about is why one situation gets called and not the other. The true problem isn’t one of diving but with the consistency of officiating in MLS. If one gets called and similar situation gets let go it’s still in the best interest of players to foul. Officiating has let the last couple of matches get out of hand because of the tactics employed. There needs to be more calls and earlier cautions (I hate seeing referee’s give continual warnings, a caution is a warning) before retaliation between players. Otherwise they might as well let the players settle the match themselves without the referees.

If the MLS wants to attract players of quality we need to have a league that is quality. We need officiating that is consistent. The players MLS wants to bring over, that will attract more fans and more advertising revenue, won’t sign on to be the league’s tackling dummy. Just like the fans don’t want to see a million dollar dive and rolling around on the turf until a whistle gets blown.

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TFC and Crew in stalemate

Posted on 18 May 2008 by Scott Ferguson

MLS leaders Columbus Crew stole a 0-0 draw from BMO Field on Saturday afternoon, preserving both their spot at the top of the standings and Toronto FC’s unbeaten home record in 2008.

TFC head coach John Carver named an unchanged squad from Red Bull New York’s visit a fortnight ago, with Danny Dichio supported in the attack by the attacking midfield trident of Amado Guevara, Laurent Robert and Rohan Ricketts.

The only obvious change was the switch of Robert and Ricketts, with each attacking from their opposite wing: Ricketts found himself marauding down the left flank while Robert played deeper on the right.

American internationals Maurice Edu and Marvell Wynne continued their own runs in the TFC first team ahead of a trip to Beijing with the U.S. Olympic team.

The sun was shining on Lake Ontario as Toronto started the stronger of the two sides. Danny Dichio found Amado Guevara with a lay-off in the fifth minute with the Honduran lashing an acrobatic volley at Will Hesmer’s goal, but the shot was straight at the Columbus ‘keeper.

Robbie Rogers had a chance for Columbus in the 19th minute, wrong-footing Marvell Wynne and sending a weak shot past Greg Sutton. Tyrone Marshall was on hand on the line, however, to clear the ball emphatically.

Robert and Guevara each had more than one chance to send an inswinging corner into Hesmer’s penalty area, but the fierce wind at Exhibition Place made it difficult for Toronto to find the head of Dichio or centerbacks Tyrone Marshall and Marco Vélez.

With the teams swapping sides in the second half, TFC finally had the chance to attack the south end, Toronto’s own curva sud with the highest concentration of support. Tyrone Marshall found himself clear on the left side of the penalty area after a scramble following Robert’s 52nd minute free kick, but the defender’s cross-shot flew harmlessly across Hesmer’s goal and out of danger.

The best chance of the game arrived just ahead of the hour-mark, however, when Robert cut in from the right side and found some space outside the Crew penalty area. The Frenchman lined up a low shot that looked to have beaten Hesmer, but the powerful strike cannoned off the base of the far post and back into play.

With Dichio unable to make a difference and struggling to hold the ball up in the windy conditions, Carver replaced his fellow Englishman with veteran MLS striker Jeff Cunningham in the 63rd minute. The former Columbus hitman was prolific in his seven seasons with the Crew but has been restricted to late cameo appearances so far in 2008 with Toronto.

Cunningham’s pace quickly threatened to make the difference, with the American leading a late charge with Guevara and Ricketts just minutes after his introduction. Guevara collected Cunningham’s low pass and laid it off to Ricketts, but the English winger’s left-footed strike was straight at Hesmer.

For his part, Crew midfielder-forward Guillermo Barros-Schelotto was growing increasingly frustated with perceived injustices by the officials and the Toronto FC crowd. The Argentine was pelted with streamers on all four corners of the pitch throughout the match as he lined up to take set pieces for the Crew.

The tension showed as Barros-Schelotto grew increasingly theatric, finally receiving a booking late in the second half for simulation. Crew boss Sigi Schmid was quick to replace the former Boca Juniors star with Nicolas Hernandez in stoppage time.

The 0-0 marks the end of a five-game winning streak for Columbus but preserves an unbeaten run for both sides, the longest and second-longest in the league so far this season.t

“You got to give them credit,” Toronto midfielder Carl Robinson told the club’s website after the game. “They… got what I think they wanted to get; we couldn’t get what we wanted to get… but, you know, it’s important we took something out of the game, we took a point out of the game.”

Schmid maintained that his team were up for all three points, however:

“It’s just one of those games,” he told Toronto’s media relations department. “Toronto’s playing well, and they’re playing well at home. You know, for us, it’s been a while since we’ve played on turf, and that always changes the game a little bit. It was a little windy… was important for us to play to zero in the back and see if we could maybe grab a goal on the road, and I thought we came close a couple of times.”

D.C. United’s visit on Wednesday night will test Toronto’s home record further, with a return tie against United scheduled for next Saturday.

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Sigi Signals Transfer Move

Posted on 13 April 2008 by Jim Baird

In the post-game press conference last night coach Sigi Schmid hinted the Crew will make a move before the close of the transfer period:“I think we’ve got something that’s probably 98.9% done and I’m very happy about it, it’s a player we’ve been after- and I think he’s going to help us in terms of what he brings to us,” Schmidt said.The transfer window closes in two days on April 15th.

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