Many happy returns

Ljungberg, Goalkeeping Coach Hyde discuss time in Seattle

I took part in a media
conference call with Freddie Ljungberg yesterday addressing his return to
Seattle tonight as a member of the Chicago Fire. Below are select quotes from
that call…

On returning to Qwest
Field as a member of the Chicago Fire

I’m probably going to have a big smile on my face. It’s
going to be a little weird, no question about it. The little time I’ve been
back in Seattle today – I just walked to Starbucks, people stopped me for
autographs and wanted to talk. It just proves what a great time I had here.

What kind of
reception are you expecting?

You get into the stadium and you never know what kind of
reception you’ll get when you get back. Of course I can hope for some of that.
I spoke to some other people that told me they’re probably going to be very
nice to you in the beginning and then if the score is not going their way they
may get on your back. We’ll see what happens.

On turning down a
European offer to stay in Major League Soccer and join the Chicago Fire…

There was one team interested in me in a very big league --
Champions League level -- that wanted me to join this summer and it was kind of
a hard decision for me, because sometimes you feel a little bit more in your
legs when you see the big games, to play in them again. I’ve been in America,
I’ve promised the fans I’d help out and make the sport grow. The way Andrew
[Hauptman] spoke to me, to pitch me coming to Chicago, the way he wants to go
for it the same kind of way New York is, to raise the level of the game here –
I think that was something I wanted to keep on challenging and trying to help
as much as I can. Of course Chicago also is a great city and a great team.

On the need to get
three points at Qwest Field…

I think we’ve played amazingly well the last few games.
Unfortunately against Houston we lost 4-3 and we conceded three corners and a
free kick. Apart from that, I think we played amazingly well and to be honest I
think at times we were playing Houston off the park, especially in the second

That’s something we need to learn from – not to concede
goals like that. Playing wise, we played really well so I think we’re coming in
with a lot of belief. Seattle is a hard place to come out of but at the same
time I think we have three games in hand on Seattle, with a win here tomorrow
we could go past them when we play a few more games. To be honest I think
there’s more pressure on them to win the game than there is on us, but of
course we’re trying to come in to win the game.

Freddie Ljungberg
isn’t the only one returning to Seattle tonight. Goalkeeping Coach Aron Hyde
returns to the Emerald City for the first time as a member of the Chicago Fire.
Hailing from Birmingham, England, Hyde spent five years coaching in the Pacific
northwest, first as the Goalkeeping Coach at Seattle University before moving
on to an assistant coaching position at Washington University.

I asked Aron about
his first return to Seattle as part of the Chicago Fire coaching staff earlier
this week…

I’m looking forward to it with Freddie going back there.
It’s something that will excite the crowd and they obviously get behind their
team pretty well there – it’s not an easy place to play. They use to their
advantage a lot there – especially last year. Overall though I had a good time
living there, it’s a good soccer city.

Did you used to
attend Sounders games? What other connections do you have to Sounders FC?

I used to go to quite a few – I’m friends with a couple of
the guys that play so I went to a bunch of matches – they’re very enjoyable.
They were very strong at home last year, maybe not as much this year. I know
they’re always eager to play in front of the crowd because of the large numbers
they bring so Saturday should be a good test.