Sigi Schmid

Lagerwey, Schmid and Henderson react to signing of midfielder Andreas Ivanschitz

Andreas Ivanschitz 150804 - Quote Sheet

Sounders FC General Manager and President of Soccer
Opening statement:

“Andreas Ivanschitz – really good player, good pedigree. He’s played in really good leagues – Bundesliga, La Liga in his last two stints – and he is a player Chris Henderson has tracked for a number of years. We are very familiar with him. I believe we made a play on him earlier in his career, I am not sure how long ago. He was available now at a valuable price, and we stepped in and took it…We’ve talked about our skepticism about on-field acquisitions, but Andreas’ English is perfect, he’s played in a number of countries where he’s outside of his comfort zone, outside of his own country, and we think he’s going to adapt very, very well. Coming from the level he was playing at we have no doubt in his ability, and we are really, really excited.”

On how long he is expected to contribute:

“He’s younger than our current strikers – in general, do we want to make the group younger, I suppose yeah, but we want to win a title, and we think this is a guy who will help us win title. If at 33, 34 he can’t do the business anymore, fair enough, but we’ll get him at 31 and hopefully we get a couple good years out of him, and he’s highly motivated to come here. He certainly could have made more money in Europe, and those are the kind of hungry guys we like. I think when you have the heart, you can make up for some weary legs.”

On how soon he will be able to play:

“We’re signing him to compete for starting minutes right away. He is training on his own – he hasn’t played a match in six or eight weeks, so it is unreasonable to think he will be playing right away. That’s why I am careful to say he will be competing for starting minutes, but we haven’t had the production we need from midfield and I think he is really going to help us.”

On when he will arrive in Seattle:

“We are hopeful he will physically be in the United States this week. He is undergoing the visa process right now, and that’s stuff we don’t control. It is possible he might be here before the LA Galaxy match.”

On whether or not there will be more signings:

“The window is open for two more days, so we better be.”

On where he is expected to play on the field:

“He is a midfielder – attacking midfielder. He is left-footed, so I think he can play one of the wider midfield spots based on where he lined up abroad. Again, we’ll get him in with the group and see how it goes. Certainly he is capable of playing in the middle – he is technical enough, he is skillful enough – but I think that might be Erik Friberg’s best role based on what we’ve seen so far. It’s about getting the pieces in and fitting them together.”

On if the move was reactionary or part of a long-term investment:

“It’s both. We always react to what we see on the field and you have to tweak as you go, we certainly haven’t performed well the past six weeks and we need to acknowledge that. I still think what I said a month ago is true, which is that the only guys that will get us out of it are the guys that are here. We are adding a very, very good player in Andreas, but caveating it in that he hasn’t played in two months. We have eight games in August, seven games left, and we need the guys here to perform and we need to improve our team. Long-term, I think Andreas can play a number of years. He is a super-fit guy, he’s got a body type that can run – if you look at his data output in terms of the La Liga and Bundesliga, it’s very good – I do think he can play for a couple years, so I don’t think it’s just ‘win now.’ Are we trying to win? Yeah, we’re trying to win.”

On if he could play forward if need be:

“I don’t think that’s his best position – that’s not why we’re signing him. We are signing him because we think we need more creativity in the midfield and we need a little more chance creation. Specifically, he hits a lot of the dead balls on the teams he plays on. I think we’ve scored three goals all season on set pieces – that’s not good enough. We need a guy who can hit the ball on corner kicks and set pieces, and we believe he can provide that… We haven’t generated chances, we haven’t been dangerous, we haven’t been able to push forward in the midfield. I think Andreas helps all of those things.”

Sounders FC Head Coach Sigi Schmid
On the signing of Ivanschitz:

“We are excited. Andreas is an exciting player, he obviously has a lot of experience playing in the European leagues and has played in a lot of international games for Austria as well. Andy Herzog, who played for me in LA, knows him really well. Andy and myself had spoken and he said there was interest, so that got us going in that direction. He gives us a left-footed player from the left side, which is something we felt we needed right now. He is also very, very good on set pieces – his service, his shot, all of those things are very good.”

On where he is expected to play:

“He’s played wide, he’s played wide in a 4-4-2, he’s played middle-end wide in the 4-2-3-1, he’s played in the middle of the midfield in a 4-4-2, but he’s definitely more of an attacking player than a defensive player, for sure.”

On if he has seen him play in person:

“Yeah, I have seen him play in person a couple of times over the years, but that was probably back a little bit. He is someone we had addressed and talked about, but didn’t feel that was our need, but we know there has been an interest for him to come, and as I said, my friendship with Andy Herzog, Michael Gspurning knows him very well and Andreas checked with him, and obviously he got a solid impression. He is definitely somebody we’ve been aware of.”

On Ivanschitz’s fitness:

“I know he has been in contact with Dave Tenney, and they have been going through a fitness plan. I know he was trying to get into some team trainings in Valencia at his home there… Once he is over here we will evaluate him and see where he’s at, and then see when we get him into some games.”

Sounders FC Sporting Director Chris Henderson
On Andreas Ivanschitz:

"Andreas is a guy with great experience. He was a player on his national team for his country – a player of the year – and comes in after winning and playing at a high level. We have been following him for a long time. He is good on the ball, good service, he can move with our without the ball – we think he is going to fit in well. He’s got great character, he is a great professional.”

On past conversations with him:

“We had watched him when he was with Mainz in the Bundesliga, and I think the timing for him wasn’t right. We worked closely with him, we had some conversations and we weren’t able to pull it off for many different reasons. He is a guy who has been following what has been going on here as much as we have been following him. We started up conversations and it went fairly easy with him and his agent.”

On having a former player like Michael Gspurning help recruit a player:

“It’s one of the things we take pride in – when a player is leaving, it’s on good terms. When a player is leaving, they are speaking highly of the club, and I think that was the case when Michael had left. Michael had spoken to him while Andreas was still at Mainz and said, ‘You would like it here, my family likes it here.’ He has kids and wants to make sure he can adjust because the player can perform once he feels settled.”

On finding the right player:

“We are always happy when we can find a player who is out of contract, high-caliber and free – that’s a plus for us. I think it is important for our group to complement the other attacking players we have. I think he fits that mold and I think he is excited for it, as well.”

On when Ivanschitz will be able to play:

“In a perfect world, the first chance he gets to play. I think he is coming fit and I think he has been working hard in this transition period for him – as we get him where he’s comfortable and feels he isn’t going to get injured, but we want him in there as soon as possible.”

On if adding a player improves the on-field energy:

“Yeah, we are looking for that. We need to change the mentality the way we go into games. When you add players, the work-rate of other players go up. We are looking for him to come in confident and bring in confidence and composure to our group.”

On discussing the playing turf while negotiating with players:

“It’s a conversation we have. Most players have played on it – it’s a lot more common now in Europe than it used to be, not as much in South America. It’s something we always bring up and make sure it is clear and we try to have the highest quality turf we can. And we tell them where we train everyday so it’s not as taxing on the legs.”



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