Johannson Playing in Germany Presents Great Opportunity for Sounders


Sigi Schmid addressed reporters’ questions yesterday and dealt with one of the older issues that club head coaches have dealt with over the years.

Martinez side play Panama and Canada.

Last season, Sounders had few players that were required for international duty and watched relatively joyfully as squads such as Real Salt Lake with their CONCACAF heavy line up, played with depleted elevens.

This season, the addition of Adam Johansson and Mario Martinez has altered that.

Kenny Miller’s pulled hamstring in the eleventh minute of yesterday’s Vancouver v Chivas match served to illustrate the reasons why international managers wait anxiously by the phone in the run up to international week.

However, the issue is clouded a little for a club like the Sounders and a league like MLS by the particular point in history at which we stand.

There is a big upside for the league in terms of credibility with seeing players appearing on the international stage.

Firstly, the club name appears on TV screens across the various continents to which the players are scattered. On October 12th, Johansson’s Sweden play in a match virtually nobody will pay much attention to when his side visit the Faroe Islands.

Four days later, they will play in front of one of Europe’s largest TV audiences when the yellow and blue run out at the Olympiastadion in Berlin. The name Seattle Sounders will be read out by the German announcer if Johansson plays and the googling of the club will begin.

The German press may interview Johansson who will tell them what a great place Seattle Sounders would be for German footballers. Conversations begin. More agents start calling.

Secondly, the appearance of MLS based players such as Johansson, Malta’s Etienne Barbara, Scotland’s Kenny Miller and the Republic of Ireland’s Robbie Keane in European qualifiers dismisses the myth that the West Coast of our continent is a retirement home for international footballers.

This in turn will make the location more attractive to players at an early stage in their careers rather than purely attracting those who have retired from international football.

Coach Sigi Schmid made this observation on the benefits of players leaving to play around the world during qualification for major tournaments:

“It’s very important. It’s a different level and anytime you can get exposure on that level it helps you as a player, but it also helps your confidence. Those are just the experiences and the more experiences you can get like that, the better you become.

As a player, the more, not only confident, but relaxed you are as you go into games because you feel that,‘Hey I belong here, I know what to do, I can make an impact.’”

He went on to address the particular circumstances pertaining to his own two players:

(On balancing national team duties with club team duties…)

“Every situation is different. You expect national team players to be playing and starting for you. Mario’s situation is unique because he came to us midseason, had to go back to the national team a couple times, so it’s been harder for him to establish that day-to-day with us. Right now, what we have to do is make sure that he and Adam and everybody is prepared for the playoffs with us.

That assures that to the best of our abilities. I think when the national and a club team have good communication, you can work together.

Adam’s team is gathering, as well, on the Monday, but because he’s going to be starting for us and he’s played a lot of minutes for us, we asked them if he could come in a day later, which they said OK to.

That’s what we felt was the best situation. For him, it’s different for the national team—is he necessarily going to start there or is he going to be a sub there? It’s good for him to get the minutes in with us before he goes. Every situation is different.”

(On Adam Johansson and Mario Martinez leaving for national team duty…)

“Adam leaves after the game on Sunday. With Mario, we’re still talking [to]their federation because their players are gathering Monday. We think he has a good chance of starting for Honduras so we’re evaluating, ‘Is he going to start for us, not start for us on Sunday?’ We’re going to make that decision shortly, but if we don’t see him starting for us we might let him go a day early to assure himself of getting that start or getting that playing time with the Honduran team.”

Schmid also addressed the upcoming GM vote, his relationship with Adrian Hanauer and Chris Henderson, and brought reporters up to speed with fitness news.

(On the upcoming GM vote by fans…)

“It’s unique and it’s special. I like Adrian [Hanauer] as a boss, so hopefully because he stuck with me it doesn’t hurt him in the votes that he gets. I think it’s a unique situation. I guess my campaign speech will be very simply, ‘We’ve done what no other expansion team has done and made the playoffs four years in a row, and hopefully to play amongst the top three-four teams in MLS. I think that’s something that’s pretty good to maintain that over that time.’”

(On working with the Sounders FC front office…)

“It’s a good situation here. A lot of what Chris [Henderson] does and what Adrian is able to do, those were all things that in Columbus—even though GM wasn’t my title—and LA from the team side I had to do all those things. I was the one that had to spend all those hours on the phone with agents and make sure that the cap balanced out. All of that made for very long days.

Having those days not be as long allows me to devote more time to looking at the upcoming opponent, at looking at players that we’re looking at bringing in to our squad. It frees up a lot of my time, but that only works if there’s a good working relationship and there’s trust amongst those people. That’s something that is excellent here between Adrian, Chris, and myself. I’m not worried, and I know that they’re looking for and I know what they’re looking for, and the communication is very open.”

(On the injury status of Osvaldo Alonso…)

“We just wanted to take it easy so we just had him do half of what the other guys did. He played every other game. He was full-in and when he played there were no restrictions. We just wanted to lighten the work load on him today and tomorrow is an off-day. He should be full-in on Friday.”

(On the injury status of Pat Ianni…)

“He seemed to be all right. He was running around everywhere based on what I saw.”

(On Michael Tetteh returning to the team…)

“He’s back…He finished his loan with them, so he’s back.”

(On how the loan went for Tetteh…)

“It went OK. He started in that last game for them, had a little bit of a problem because he got red carded in the game earlier and the league suspended him for two games, so that cost him a couple games. But it was good for him to stay there and fight through and obviously he started in that last game, so that was good.”


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  1. Good lord, I wish Mario would start for us on Sunday. I’m all for playing Zak, but make him a 70th minute sub, rather than the other way around. Martinez, right now, is just in better match condition.