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Head Coach Adrian Heath

On communication with international players during the break…

“We’ve spoken to them. Unfortunately, most of them are in Europe or different places around the world. Obviously, there are games this evening, we don’t know who’s playing or who’s not playing. We just hope they come through unscathed and get back in. It’s never ideal. I can never understand when you have a two-week break, how you can have a Wednesday game, so the players aren’t really back until Friday morning when you have 14 days to put two games in. That’s another conversion.”

On the disadvantage of having international travel before games…

“No, it’s never ideal. I can’t wrap my head around the fact that players are away 14 days and we get them back the day before a game. As I say, that’s for another conversation. It is what it is. Hopefully, Dayne [St. Clair] and [Joseph] Rosales, etc. this evening will come through unscathed, and they’ll get back here fit and healthy.”

On the type of training that can be done with international players upon return…

“Not a lot, only because they’ve been traveling as well. A lot of video work. We’ve shown these guys some stuff and we’ll get them all together. They’ll do game-day presentation as usual and we’ll go from there. It’s never ideal, but it is not just for us. I look at Seattle, both Roldáns [Cristian and Alex] are away and [Raúl] Ruidíaz has not been with the group for a few weeks so they’re in the same boat.”

On Dayne St. Clair and the Canada National Team qualifying for the FIFA World Cup…

“Yes. It’s been a frustration for him early on in the year when he wasn’t playing because this is such an important year for them. The fact that they’re going to qualify for the next one as well, these next four or five years, are really exciting times, especially with this generation of players that they’ve got. It’s a special generation. They’ve got really good players. Really well-coached. It’s exciting times for the Canadian guys. Boxy’s [Michael Boxall] still got a chance, New Zealand, it looks like, will be playing Peru. We keep our fingers crossed for them.” 

On what training has looked like with the group of players here…

“We had a really tough middle of the week last week on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday and we gave them Friday, Saturday, and Sunday off so we have gradually ramped it up this week. The lads are in good condition. The atmosphere is really good, as you would expect. Four games no defeats, but as per usual, Seattle Sounders are coming to town. Whatever team they put out, is going to be really competitive. I have a great amount of time for them as an organization. I’ve got a great amount of time for Schemtz [Brian Schmetzer] and his staff. And I know whichever team, there’s been talk about it, they’ve played five of their academy kids last year and got a result in Austin. Regardless of what their team, what they put out, we know it’s going to be tough at the weekend.”

On the Sounders and their unexpected start to the season…

“Their start, they started with a couple of defeats I think they started with. Obviously, got Champions League, we know how important that’s going to be for them. Big game against Leon and then they’ve got another big game next Wednesday. Yeah, they’ve had other things on their mind, but trust me, come showtime, come the end of the year, they’ll be thereabouts.”

On if he thinks the Sounders will have the upcoming Champions League game in mind as they prep for this weekend…

“I don’t know. I don’t really think too long and hard about what they’re thinking, I just try and get us in the right frame of mind to play. Can we keep this run going? I’ve said that if at the end of four games, we had eight points, I’d be very happy with that, that’s where we are. Let’s try and make it 11 from five. If we do that, it’ll be a great start.”

On how to get the better of the Sounders this weekend…

“Well the games have been pretty tight. We know we’ve had a couple games where they’ve scored a few on us, but if you look at them games, there’s not been an awful lot in it. So I expect this game to be no different. What we aren’t sure is does Jordan Morris play tonight, do the Roldans [Alex and Cristian] as I’ve said, play. We don’t know what team they’ll play but whichever team they play, they’ve got quality in most positions. Always well-organized, and always motivated to play.”

On how Kemar Lawrence has joined the group…

“He’s training really well. His fitness is getting better. We’ll just see where he is come the end of the week. Might be a bit early for him but he’ll certainly be involved.”

Midfielder Wil Trapp

On approaching the game this weekend given the international break…

“It’s really just about the guys that are here, us focusing on what the game plan is. Obviously, we’ll have boys coming back in but all we can focus on is the task at hand which is what we’re doing in training and understanding what Seattle is about.”

On how he would evaluate how the season has started for the team...

“It’s been a pragmatic start to the season. For all of us, it’s nice to have points on the board, as we reflect on a year ago. Understanding that we’ve played tough teams, they haven’t been easy games so that fact we’ve come through without a loss is a good sign but you definitely feel like this last game, for example, man we could put three or four goals in, instead of just the one and hanging on a little bit. For us, understanding and feel like we still have a ways to go is a good thing.”

On developing the comradery and chemistry as the starting lineup has changed each game…

“Thankfully, a lot of guys have been here before, or at least the core group of players. This week has been huge for us in the sense of getting guys that have been injured back into the fold. So having the full complement of guys plus internationals back, I think, is super important for us. Like I said at the beginning, the task at hand, training on the field and continuing to build relationships that have already been there or continue to integrate guys that are new to the team in there as well.”

On how the group can find the goals…

“It’s situations where, if you look at the San Jose game just recency bias, is the fact that we’re in good positions. We’re getting the chances, it’s just now that last little final ball, the moment of quality. But more importantly and impressively, we’ve found ways to get shutouts and that’s super important too. Even if it’s just one goal, I think we’ve shown through our backline and how we’re defending that we’re keeping the ball out of the net. When you do that, you still find ways to win games.”

On the Sounders and their unexpected start to the season…

“They’re always going to be difficult. They know what they’re about. If you read reports, talking about the depth of their team, and we know that. We know that from years prior and you understand that when you’re working with the situation with Champions League, it’s never easy to continuously out out your best team and win every single game but they have quality and they’re a good team.”

On the depth and youth of the Seattle roster…

“For me, it’s just a great testament to the quality that they continue to bring through their youth academy. How [Brian Schmetzer] seems to just trust these guys and the team rallies around it. There was a game last year, I remember them playing Austin, and they started five teenagers and they won the game. It doesn't matter who they put on the field, they have a winning culture about them and for us, we know that and it's always a great test.”

Defender Michael Boxall

On having a bye week and getting some days off…

“For sure. A little bit of downtime to refresh the mind and the body. You don’t get many breaks like this during the year so you got to make the most when they do come around.”

On the importance of recovery…

“I usually prefer it a bit later down in the season but after four games, the team is playing quite well and you want to keep the games rolling but you got to take them as they come.”

On the Sounders and their unexpected start to the season…

“I haven’t watched too much of them this season but every year, they’re a solid team. They’ve got quality all over the field and they’re, generally, very tough to break down. At home, I think we need to take the most of our chances. We’ve been getting our players up, putting the ball in the right spots but just haven’t been able to apply the finishing touch. As long as we put out another good defensive performance, I think it gives them more opportunities to find the back of the net.”

On the success of the defense given the many changes to the backline…

“It feels pretty comfortable. It’s felt comfortable most of the games. Everyone that’s come in, we’ve all played together and whatnot or the players that have come in, have shown their quality , their experience. Now that we have the confidence that we have the depth that we have, and everyone is familiar with their roles, I think we’re good. It helped massively that we’ve got the engine group in front of us that do the work they do as well.”

On what he’s expecting out of Seattle Sounders this weekend…

“I think you see guy in midfield [Joao Paulo], he runs the show, he’s their general that breaks up the play but then springs the attack. Their wide players like to get involved and, no matter who is up top, it’s quality. You’ve got [Fredy] Montero, you’ve got [Raul] Ruidiaz. I think Will Bruin is always a handful when he steps onto the field. No matter what, we’ve definitely got our hands full and we’ve got to show up.”

On what the backline needs to do against Seattle…

“It’s one of those things where you, kind of, evolve as the game comes along. Against a team that can be quite direct, you don’t want to give them that space early, work your way into the game. And then work on denying the midfield and give front players a bit more space and you squeeze them. That’s my focus but we do our jobs right so that…we’ve got a lot of class on our side too so if we can allow them to have the ball in the right spots, then we’re good.”

On the group after starting the season unbeaten…

“It’s been good. Obviously, I don't know if everybody is aware but we didn’t have quite a good start last year so it’s much better. We’re where we want to be, where we expect ourselves to be so now it’s on us to keep that going.”

On what a victory against the Sounders mean for the group…

“Not particularly the Sounders, but I think when we’re at Allianz Field in front of our crowd, we expect to win games. We’ve already dropped a couple points against a tough team [Nashville SC], but if we want to make sure we’re where we want to be come October then these are the games you need to take care of, no matter who steps on the field.”