Feb 17, 2014, 3:00 PM EDT
Next up at MLS Media Day was Graham Zusi, who’s engaging responses revealed a man enjoying life in MLS and not looking for a move abroad.
Thoughts on the upcoming season?
It will be a busy year but busy is good. At Kansas City, we’re going to put the same goals ahead of us as in past years. We’re taking CCL very seriously and we want to be the first MLS side to win it. We took the time to appreciate what we accomplished last season but we’re now focused on what we need to do.
Discuss the preparation for facing Cruz Azul in the CONCACAF Champions League.
We’ve put a lot of emphasis on our pre-season games. So we’re using those as tune-up matches and taking them a bit more seriously than normal. We need to come into the CCL ‘mid-season sharp’. It’s unfortaunte that it’s so early in the season but we’re doing our best to ensure success.
KC may have three guys going to the World Cup — any worries?
I don’t think we’ll focus on the national team when we’re with the club and vice versa. I’m going to consider my time with the club as being as precious as possible because I have the potential of missing several games for the World Cup. I’m going to try and put Sporting in the best place I can before heading to Brazil.
We do have 2-3 guys who might go but I don’t think it’s an issue. We’ve seen so many guys step in like Soony Sad and Dom Dwyer, who not only filled a void but made cases for themselves to be starters.
How do you view the growth of MLS?
I think if you look at the national team at this point there’s a strong contingent of MLS’ers making play for the national team. Then you look at the league in general, guys coming back. The respect for the league is growing throughout the world. In a few years time we’re going to be one of the best leagues’ in the world.
Tim Cahill believes the Supporters Shield is more important than MLS Cup. Where do you stand?
I tend to agree with Cahill. At KC, we put a big emphasis on being the best team throughout the season. I know it’s not always the team that wins MLS Cup but for us we put a lot of emphasis on winning the Supporters Shield. That consistency throughout the season can carry you through the MLS Cup. We’re going to try and be in that mid-season form, early on.
What happened at KC after winning MLS Cup?
You saw a lot of guys sticking around building themselves up. I think it’s that mentality of being the best, that expectation of excellence, that mentality that goes top to bottom.
How do you view Toronto’s spending?
I think it speaks to the direction this league is headed. The willingness of owners to dish out that kind of money is incredible. I’m excited to see that Toronto team play.
For me it’s just an exciting time in the league. You know, it’s all kind of coming together. Seeing the Bradley’s and Edu’s wanting to come and be a part of it.
As far as Kansas City goes, I can’t speak enough of the transformation. The transition between the Wizards and Sporting is one of the best success stories you can think of. Different MLS markets have to approach it in different ways.
How does what’s gone on in MLS affect your decision to go abroad?
There wasn’t really a decision because I can’t say there were many offers to go abroad. So it was a fairly easy choice to remain where I am. MLS is where I’m growing my game the most. Training and competition is very high and it’s the best spot for me at the moment.
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