The Quakes hit the road to face the Colorado Rapids on Saturday. After Thursday’s training session, I was able to get some time with players Jahmir Hyka and Chris Wondolowski to discuss the season thus far, and the team’s three-games-in-eight days swing.
Interview with Jahmir Hyka
QF: What as been the biggest challenge for you coming into California and the United States, and playing soccer here versus overseas?
JH: I cannot say ‘challenge’ because I wanted to come here . . . [At first] it was hard for me because I was not at 100%, now it’s better, so I feel better.
QF: You recently got a nickname–Hykachu. What are your thoughts?
JH: I didn’t expect it; that’s a funny thing. The little kid, Alex, I gave him the shirt after the game, and he was very happy.
QF: Do you mind being called Hykachu?
JH: No, it’s no problem. It’s something funny. It’s no problem for me.
QF: Soccer in the United States is a summer sport, there are a lot of games that are played in the heat . . . has anyone ever talked to you about changing your game to be able to play more effectively in those kinds of weather conditions?
JH: We tried that in Houston, and I can say it was really hot. But I’ve also played before [in the heat]. Like in Albania, it’s also very hot in the summer, so I know how to play in this weather. Of course you must be smart, you have to save some energy.
QF: What do you think of Florian Jungwirth’s performance so far with the team?
JH: He’s very important for our team. Even [as] a defender, he’s doing a very good job . . . and he’s also helping us on offense. That speaks for him, and I’m happy for him because he’s a good friend of mine, and I hope he continues like that.
QF: The atmosphere of Avaya Stadium, the Ultras, what is your overall impression?
JH: I have to be honest . . . when I’m here, they have always been here for me. They’ve been cheering for me . . . and also for the team, so it’s a super atmosphere . . . they are super fans, and I hope they continue . . . to encourage us to win the games.
Interview with Chris Wondolowski
QF: How would you evaluate the team’s rounding into form at this point in the season?
Wondo: You always want to get points, and I feel that we are starting to click in certain areas, and do a little bit of a better job. I know that we were putting a lot of pressure on ourselves since the goals weren’t coming early, but I think we are getting more understanding, and I think [the shots] are starting to find their way into the net.
QF: The win against Portland, was that something that galvanized the team as you go into these next few games?
Wondo: Yeah, it’s one of those things that kinda snowballs. The win against Minnesota was big, to get that road win . . .every game is going to be a battle and a different test, so it’s back to the drawing board against Colorado.
QF: You’re going to have three games coming up, two on the road. How do you prepare for that three game stretch with relatively little time [in between games]?
Wondo: I’m just thankful for how deep our team is. It’s definitely going to be put to the test, and we have great guys that can be coming off the bench . . . Look at last week: you got Simon (Dawkins), Nick Lima, Tommy Thompson, Fatai Alashe, some great guys that could be starting at any moment. I’m sure we’re going to be using them.