Sounders FC Quotes: First training session for Andreas Ivanschitz and Román Torres

Andreas Ivanschitz - 150812

Sounders FC Defender Román Torres
On the opportunity to join Sounders FC:

“I found out about this opportunity and I was excited to land an opportunity for a big institution like Sounders FC. I am very happy to be here. I had been hoping to come to the MLS for a while now, so I am happy to be here with Sounders FC.”

On the timeline of ongoing conversations with the club:

“It’s been a while since I’ve heard about this opportunity – it has been a while since I have been following this opportunity – but it turned into reality after a very good performance at the Gold Cup.”

On why he wanted to join MLS:

“It is a very important league, and I have many other players from Panama who came here and told me the importance of this league. I am excited to be here and I will give the very best of me to the most important objective – to be a champion.”

On his finest qualities on the pitch:

“The things I bring the most are my strengths and aggressiveness of playing, but also that I am very good at playing with my teammates and I have received a very warm welcome, like a family, from my teammates here. At my first practice here today I have been able to practice with everybody else, and I feel very happy about that. Now I am just waiting for instructions from the coaches to see what they want me to do – hopefully I will earn a spot on the opening squad.”

On his preference of playing style:

“I think I can either play from coming out from behind or throwing balls, but I do know Seattle is a team that moves the ball really well, and I can adapt to that really well.”

On his fitness:

“I feel really well. After the Gold Cup I took a week off and then went right back into training, and now I am here and I am ready to play.”

On what his presence in MLS means for Panama:

“I think it means a lot for the Panamanian people – they are very proud of having people in this league. I have been looking for this opportunity for a while now, so I am very happy it turned into a reality.”

Sounders FC midfielder Andreas Ivanschitz
On travelling to Seattle:

“It was a long flight – about 10 hours from Amsterdam. Two and a half hours from Madrid to Amsterdam, then Amsterdam to Seattle was 10 hours. It was OK. I am feeling fine, feeling great being with the team back out on the pitch. I am really enjoying it.”

On the first training session with the team:

“It was great – from the first moment I want to try to help the team. I had a long summer, a very long summer, so I can’t wait to back out on the pitch to help the guys, help the team, and support the club with all I’ve got.

On being match-fit:

“I think it will take some time to settle in, but I am feeling good – I am feeling tired still from all of the travel and first days. It’s not easy, but I am feeling better. We will see by the end of this week how fit I am, how ready I am. I will try my best to get into training and to get into shape. I am really looking forward for this game, and see what the coaches decide.”

On what attracted him to Seattle:

“We started speaking about coming to MLS, and as I was doing all of the research [I recalled that] we had contact two years ago. I had spoken to Sigi and I knew the team since that time. I followed the club, I was looking at how it was going – I think last year was very successful. I spoke to Michael Gspurning, who was goalkeeper here for two years, and he said he had a great time, so that was a good thing to speak to someone who knows the club and knows everybody here. He told me some great stuff, some great things about the people here.”

On his likely position:

“This was the first training for me with the First Team, and the coach decides where to put the men. We will speak about that later on, but it is very important for me to feel ready and match-fit, so that’s the main target at the moment and later on we will speak about the weekend, of course.”

On coming in during a slump:

“I saw the last games didn’t go well, but this happens. My first impression is very good. I did train on Monday and Tuesday with a small group and today with the full team, so I think there’s some great quality in this team. I am really sure we will win games in the next few weeks, and I am very confident about that.”

On moving to the United States:

“For me, this is the second time being in the U.S., the first time was just for holiday, so it doesn’t count. My family wants to live here, and I said before, I spoke with many friends who had been in Seattle and knew the club, and it will be a very nice experience for sure. I can’t wait to bring my family to Seattle, and I guess it will be a great time and we are looking forward the next months, years. As I said before, I can’t wait to be on the pitch and play some soccer to help the team get better.”

On his preferred position:

“I have been in Germany playing second striker, the last three years I have been playing left midfield, half midfield. For me, each of those positions are fine. Everyone want to play, be on the pitch, so for me it doesn’t matter.”

On bringing his topflight experience to the club:

“I have a lot of experience. This is my 10th year abroad, so that is some nice experience… Altogether, I really want to help the team, and also the young players. I am 31, and whenever they need the help, I will try to help them, of course.”

Sounders FC Head Coach Sigi Schmid
On bringing in Torres:

“He’s an experienced centerback. He’s a player we’ve followed for a while. We’ve had him on our Discovery List. At the time it didn’t look like it was going to work, and the situation presented itself where it could work. So we decided that we’d react to it. I thought he had a good Gold Cup. I thought he handled himself really well as the captain of the team in a big fracas after the game. I thought he showed a lot of character at that time. So we’re happy to have him with our team.”

On whether Brad Evans will remain a centerback:

“I think Brad’s played well at centerback. I don’t think Brad’s played poorly – I think he’s really adjusted to the position and has played well. It just gives us another option. Obviously we could play Chad Marshall and Brad together. We can play Chad and Román. We can play Román and Brad. Zach Scott is there as well. Zach’s a lion. He fights and he battles. He’s still an important member of our team. How many years Zach has left is something we don’t know at this stage. It just gives us options, and right now with Ozzie being injured, it gives is the option of pushing Brad into midfield if we need it.”

On how the signings can help turn the season around:

“It’s nice to have options. We need to get guys full fit. The good thing with Torres is he was training with Millonarios, and he just came off the Gold Cup. So he’s closer than the other guys. Valdez is coming off an offseason basically, and Ivanschitz as well. So are they 90 minutes fit yet? We don’t know, but it certainly gives us options. As players get to know each other and get used to each other, hopefully the combinations will be good.”

On when the new players will be ready to go:

“We want to get better week-by-week. We want to be smart and make sure we’re not putting someone in a situation where they’re going to suffer a long-term injury. But our expectation is that this weekend, all of them can have an impact on the game, whether it’s starting or coming off the bench. They’re all possibilities.”

On seeing all the recent signings out at training:

“It was good to have everybody. It would have been nice to have Ozzie [Alonso], Leo [Gonzalez], [Clint] Dempsey and [Marco] Pappa, but it certainly put a bounce in some guys’ step because they realized, wait a second, there’s people here, so maybe my time gets crushed a little bit in this melee. From that standpoint it was good. It was a good practice. The guys had two days off, so coming off two days off it’s never the best practice. But I was happy with what they did today.”

On adding to competition for spots in the lineup:

“It’s going to add to the level of competition, but it’s mainly going to give us options. We’ve been limited a little bit on our options and what we’ve been able to do, so it should provide us with some options and give us the ability to go back into a 4-4-2, which is what our team is most comfortable in.”

On speaking with Brad Evans about this move:

“I talked to Brad a few weeks ago. We’re good. We’ll communicate. We’ll talk.”

On Torres’ ability to score on headers:

“He gives you another target on set pieces, so it makes it a little harder to match up on Marshall or whoever. Ivanschitz gives us somebody who serves a good ball, so that helps us too. I think even last Sunday against LA, with Friberg serving the ball, he served good corners and we were all of a sudden a lot more dangerous on our corner kicks. Service is a key, and any time you add another offensive element to your attack, it’s good.”

On Torres’ transition in the middle of a season:

“I think we have enough Spanish speakers. I know he was in contact with Fredy Montero, who gave the city a good recommendation and probably told him some good places to hang out and restaurants to go to. He’s still deciding when exactly his family is going to come up, because his kids are in school right now. But all those determinations will be made in the next week. I think he’ll adjust. It’s not going to be an issue.”

Sounders FC General Manager and President of Soccer Garth Lagerwey
On when the club was first in contact with Torres:

“Torres is a guy that’s really well known. He’s one of the most known defenders in CONCACAF. It’s a player that I had talked to at my old job, and [Sounders FC] had talked to here, but the deal came together in the last couple of weeks during the transfer window. But it’s a guy that had been on our radar. Everybody watches the Gold Cup, so everybody had seen him play pretty recently. It was more of the financial terms that changed and came together in the end.”

On where Torres might fit in the lineup:

“I think Brad Evans has done a nice job at centerback for us. It was just a question of having a good player that became available. It gives us the ability to play a couple of different ways. If you have a big centerback on the team, it gives you some flexibility. My job is to give the coach options, and what he does with those options is up to him.”

On what it’s like to see the new players training:

“I didn’t sleep for a week, so this feels pretty good. It’s fun to have these guys out here. To sign four guys in the transfer window is the most I’ve ever signed, and I’m pretty sure it’s the most the Sounders have ever signed. The message that I gave everybody in July stayed true: the guys that are here have to get it done. It’s nice to have a couple more guys that can compete for spots, but not all of those guys are going to be on the field Sunday. It’s probably going to take a couple of weeks to get guys up to speed tactically, technically and fitness-wise. We need the guys that are here to get the job done in the short term because we’ve got to stay in the playoff hunt.”

On conversations with Sigi Schmid over the last two weeks:

“I think we recognized that we hadn’t performed at the level we expected. We had to make adjustments, and our conversations were about how to make those adjustments. Sigi’s been really good to work with during the window. We’ve obviously been pretty active and pretty busy. Now he’s got some more choices, and what he does with them is up to him.”

On what the signings mean for other players:

“There’s always a concern for losing your spot. That’s why I’ve been careful to say these guys are going to come in and compete. Nobody’s been anointed or promised anything. The best team is going to play, and the best players are going to play. Unfortunately for the last couple of months, we’ve not had great performances from some players. It is what it is. The group wasn’t able to get the results we wanted, so we had to change it.”

On what Torres brings to the team:

“He’s a large man. He’s physical, imposing and intimidating. He’s pretty athletic, and we’re pretty happy to have him here. He reminds me of a centerback that I signed a couple of years ago. To have that kind of intimidator, that kind of protector in front of your backline…speaking as a former keeper myself, you want a guy like Román on your team.”

On how much English Torres can speak:

“For the first three guys – Friberg, Ivanschitz and Valdez – they’re all really good transitioning candidates. Román does not speak a word of English, so that’s going to be tougher. Part of what you hope will help is that you’ve got a really good group around him. You’ve got a veteran goalkeeper behind him, you’ve got a veteran centerback next to him and you’ve got veterans in front of him. So it gives him a structure where he can figure out how to play. And honestly, tactically, the concepts at centerback are pretty similar from team to team more than any other position. We’re going to equip him as best we can. We’re going to get him English lessons and things like that. But part of it is we think Román’s a really good player, and if he’s the player we think he is, he should be able to adjust.”

On players coming in so late in the season:

“Certainly he’s a guy that is going to help us in the long term. We don’t do this deal if he’s not. He’s a TAM player, so he’s a significant investment. As a result, he has to help us not only this year, but in the future. Román doesn’t speak English, so that’s going to make it a little bit harder. But he’s certainly been to the United States a lot with the Panamanian National Team. He certainly has a lot of connections. If you look at it on paper, is his transition possibly more difficult than the other guys? Yeah, I think it could be. We’re going to try to help him and do everything we can to make him feel comfortable.”

On whether Brad Evans will remain a centerback:

“These are Sigi’s decisions. I give him choices, and he makes the decisions.”

On more potential transactions in the near future:

“Roster freeze is September 15, so you could possibly see us doing something. But we’ve spent a fair amount of money already. We were able to do a lot of this because my predecessor, who happens to own the team, was pretty conservative in the offseason. I owe him a tip of the cap because he preserved a lot of resources so that when I came in and had enough time to get my feet under me, I’d be able to make some changes if I wanted to. We obviously saw circumstances that dictated those changes. We had the resources to make them, and it’s because the team was well managed. That said, we also have to be responsible with what’s left of the money so that we can field a good team next year as well.”

On the international roster slots:

“We’ve got enough spots. We have nine internationals now, and the limit’s eight. We have a guy that’s on the DL that is an international player.”

On the leadership Torres could bring despite language barrier:

“We talked to Román about this directly. When all the nonsense went down after the Panama game in the Gold Cup, we thought he was the one calming voice. When you go back and watch the tape, Román was the one controlling his teammates and trying to mitigate some of the craziness that was going on. So I think he’s going to be a good leader. I think he really adds something that our team didn’t have before in terms of a physically imposing presence in the back. I think it’s going to change the way we play. It’s a huge step for us.”

On roster space:

“We’ve got three guys on the DL now. We had two before, and we added a third guy: Damion Lowe.”

On having Ivanschitz out at training:

“It’s really good to have him here. He’s a massive addition to our team. He’s a guy that has done it at the highest level. He’s coming from Levante in La Liga, the same place we got Oba from. Oba’s done OK. I think it’s a massive addition to our team. I hope he is considered by the public in the same light as Friberg, Valdez and Torres. Obviously there’s a lot of hype and a lot of media around Torres, and I think he’s going to be awesome. But Ivanschitz is a guy that’s been training for two weeks while we waited to get his Visa. He’s fit. Of all the guys we’ve signed, he might be closest to being ready to come in and contribute. We’ll see how that plays out this week, but he’s an awesome pro. His English is very good. He’s a really smart guy. He’s played outside of his country and speaks English, which are things we look at for the transition. He’s going to be a really impactful player for us right away.”

On the role Ivanschitz could play:

“If you need a creative player to come in and change the game…minus Pappa, we were really hurting in that department. So Ivanschitz meets this need. The other thing that is killer about Ivanschitz is he’s masterful on set pieces. That’s one of the strengths of his game. And if you think about where we’ve struggled this year – defending set pieces and scoring set-piece goals – we’ve now added Torres at centerback and Valdez at forward. They’re both great in the air, and Ivanschitz is a guy that can serve a ball. We’ve struggled for two months because we can’t grind out a result. We can’t get a set-piece goal. That’s a huge thing going into the playoffs – if we can make it – that we’ve added these pieces.”



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