Silverbacks Technical Director Eric Wynalda joined the club’s play-by-play announcer, Jon Schwartz, on the broadcast last Saturday night. In case you weren’t able to watch the interview, atlantasilverbacksfc.com has you covered with a full transcription.
SCHWARTZ: Eric, talk about the key moments for the Silverbacks, because it’s been a bit of struggle offensively in the second half of the season as they gear up for the Soccer Bowl Championship game.
WYNALDA: Absolutely, and it’s a good point that you brought up. You said, ‘Do you think the team will have a problem with idea of already being in the final,’ and we’ve been denying it at the wrong time and we probably should’ve adjusted a lot sooner.
I think Brian [Haynes] has done a good job with the team. The problem is that we’ve tinkered around a little bit with some stuff. We’ve entertained the idea of maybe playing a different way at times and the results have not come.
The message is pretty clear to the guys that, ‘Look, you can’t just turn on the switch when November 9 rolls around and win a game.’ I think tonight and the next couple of weeks will be a good indication of where we are physically and mentally.
We’ve had some injuries this week, which has been unfortunate. Pablo Cruz rolled his ankle, it looks like Bobby Reiss might be out for awhile, and Brad Stisser is still struggling to get healthy. We’re mixing things up, but our attitude will be right tonight.
SCHWARTZ: In some ways, is this almost a good thing to get a little taste of that kind of medicine and get a little bit sharper because obviously the way it’s looking now, come the Soccer Bowl, we’ll be facing a red hot [New York] Cosmos team? They’re starting to open up a lead and are facing Carolina [Railhawks] tonight. They look like the forerunners that could come in here. Obviously, they’re a very talented team.
WYNALDA: It’s a ‘be really careful what you wish for situation.’ We’re looking at this saying, Carolina, the last time they played the Cosmos, they destroyed them 3-0, and then they hit the reset button kind of like we did in the spring.
We didn’t run the table, but we got our act together. The Cosmos have done that, and they’ve proven to be a very good team. I’m really curious to see how that result spits out because that will dictate our mindset going into the final.”
For the league, it would be great - let’s face it. We might end up getting a national broadcast if it’s the Cosmos because they carry that kind of cache. Let’s see what happens, but we have to focus on our stuff. We have to make sure we’re a worthy opponent, but they have been great and Giovanni Savarese has done a great job.
SCHWARTZ: Attacking with your outside backs, whether it’s with Mike Randolph on the left or Shane Moroney on the other side, seems to be a staple of the team. Talk about the speed of your outside backs.
WYNALDA: We were really blessed with Chris Klute and Mark Bloom, but those two guys have moved on to bigger and better things. I’m going to try and negotiate to bring Mark Bloom back if I can.
SCHWARTZ: And it’s funny with Bloom, because he comes from a small college [Berry College], and it’s crazy where you can find guys like that sometimes.
WYNALDA: They’re everywhere, and I think it’s the same with Chris’ inclusion as well. When we got to Atlanta, he was driving limousines to the airport and he wasn’t even sure if he wanted to be a pro. In a really short conversation, I just told him, ‘I don’t think you know how good you are.’
He went to Colorado [Rapids], and when we negotiated, they basically said, ‘We’ll give you more money if he starts a lot of games,’ and I said, ‘Done deal.’
They said, ‘He’s not going to play in very many games,’ and that was 28 games ago and he is doing just fine. We believed in him and I think Colorado got a player who was ready and was hungry. Mark is the same way.
We do like to go forward on the wings, and we ask a lot of Michael [Randolph] because he is a veteran and a really good player. We’ve rested him and have been making sure that he doesn’t incur any injuries that would keep him out on November 9.