Coach Sigi Schmid spoke in a conference call with media this afternoon, giving his impressions of the end of training camp and his club’s return to the Northwest, where it will open CONCACAF Champions League play Tuesday against Club America. Here’s most of what he had to say:
On potential loss of Obafemi Martins: At this point there is nothing finalized yet on that. Obviously we played last night. I thought we had a good game. The team worked very hard for each other.
On the 4-3-3, regardless of Martins’ status: We went into the season thinking this was a good way for our team to play based on personnel. We knew that Jordan Morris was part of that mix for us up front. We trained on it, we tweaked it, we’ve changed it a little bit, we’ve gotten better about it. So for me it was just a situation where Jordan was coming in and we were going to stay in that system because that’s what we’ve been training on and the team is starting to find some really comfortable in those positions right now.
On how long he has known Martins’ might depart: There’s nothing final yet, so I can’t really add anything. As with anything that happens in life, you gain knowledge with it at various times and just cope with it.
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On trialists who might make team or move on: We’re moving forward on that. There are some decisions that we internally have discussed and have talked about. One of the things I was most pleased about on Wednesday when we beat the team from Korea – we played a good, quality team from Korea – and we put a lineup on the field that had one player at the age of 29 and everybody else was 24 or younger. That’s one of the things that we set as a goal for us going into this year. I was really pleased with the young players and how they played and how they performed. There’s still a lot of tough decisions ahead of us. In our league, there’s a lot of things that happen that determine how you put your roster together at the end of the day. We still have some time before March 1, and as everything becomes clear then we’ll be able to put the final roster together. But there have been some young kids who have played very well.
On club’s plans now through Tuesday: We were happy last night with our fitness from the standpoint that obviously it was a field that was a little bit heavy because of the water. … Believe me, I’ve played on worse conditions. But the field, because it played heavier, we felt pushing our guys to 75 minutes was the equivalent of 90 minutes on a dry field. I thought we held up really well fitness-wise, so we’re pleased with how we are there. We’re going to give them the day off tomorrow, and then we’ve got training Saturday, Sunday and Monday. We’ll work a little bit on Saturday and get back into the rhythm, and then on Sunday and Monday we’ll prepare ourselves tactically for Club America.
On if cuts will be announced: We will when we make those final decisions for sure. Obviously we have our team, we have S2, there are some players who are training with us who are probably going to be with S2, but we haven’t finalized those decisions at this point.