Hey everyone, hope your Thursday is going well. I caught up with the recently returned Gonzalo Segares and Logan Pause (both players had been with their national teams since the end of June for the Gold Cup) at yesterday's practice and did a little group interview with them. Check it out below...
**What did you guys think about your Gold Cup experiences?**
**G:** I think it's a nice story but I thought it was a little bit long. That week in between the first round and the second one makes it a little bit tiring but overall I think it's a good experience. It was the first time [in the Gold Cup] for me and I think I learned a lot from it and I think it's a good tournament.
**L:** I think any time you get a chance to put on the national team jersey it's an honor and a privilege. For me it was first time getting called in and it was exciting to be a part of it and help contribute and obviously wished it would've ended a bit different - losing in the final was disappointing - but I feel like the group got a lot of work done and it was a good tournament for us.
**Logan, you got your first cap with the national team in the U.S.'s opener against Grenada, what was that like?**
**L:** It was amazing. You dream as a kid to play for your national team and to get that opportunity was amazing.
**Gonzalo you mentioned that the whole experience was a little long. How was it being on the road for a month?**
**G:** It was tough. We were living in hotels, moving from city to city. I think we were one of the teams that moved the most. We went from Costa Rica to L.A. to Miami to Columbus to Dallas to Chicago it gets tiring after a while but everybody does it and I think the experience makes it worth it and you learn a lot from it.
**L:** It's a long time to be away, especially for those who have families. It's not easy but it's all part of the territory. You come to kind of expect that and I was fortunate enough to be able to come home a couple of days when we were playing in Chicago. It's never easy to be on the road that long but you kind of have to expect it.
**Being away from the Fire for so long but having the honor of playing with your national team has to create some conflicting emotions for you guys...**
**L:** It is a little bit bittersweet. You're so honored to be a part of the national team but you miss the guys here. This is our family for 10 months out of the year but the group has done well since both Gonzalo and I have been gone. It's great that guys have gotten some big minutes and I know both of us are just sort of looking forward to getting back to the regular swing of things.
**G:** It's always tough especially now with the team in the middle of the season. We're in a rough stretch with SuperLiga and regular season and it's always tough. I watched a couple games on the computer wishing I was there but I think they did great. I think [Fire defender Daniel Woolard] stepped in really well for me and [Fire midfielder Baggio Husidic] stepped in really well for Logan and that's what they're there for.
**Watching on TV and being unable to help has to be a bit weird...**
**G:** Definitely. Especially after getting a chance to play the first two SuperLiga games and then leaving and watching them against Tigres UANL and against New England you always want to be there and help them out but you can't and it's tough.
**L:** I got to see the SuperLiga games and I got to see the second half of this past game in Seattle but I was in and out of touch with the guys and talking to them and wishing them luck and talking with [Head Coach Denis Hamlett] and the players about how things were going so whether I could see it or not I was in the loop.
**What are some of the biggest differences in terms of style of play between MLS and the international level?**
**G:** The style is definitely different. With Costa Rica the pace is a little bit slower than with the Fire. [Costa Rica] moves around the ball slower, they try to play the ball more to the feet and move it around so it takes awhile to transition from defense to attack. In Seattle I didn't think I had any trouble though. I mean I've been playing with these guys for so many years and I'm used to [Fire midfielder Marco Pappa] and to [Fire defender Wilman Conde] and it was fortunate for me that it didn't take me that long to adjust back.
**L:** Obviously you're on the biggest stage and I think that's one of the big differences. You're with a lot of guys that are extremely hungry and determined to get caps and to help represent the country. That's not to say that Chicago isn't competitive, it's very competitive but the details are magnified at the international level. You can't get away with things that you might be able to get away with a little bit in MLS but it was a great experience I think.
**Did you guys pick up on anything in the Gold Cup that you hope to bring back to the Fire?**
**G:** I definitely learned from mistakes made on the field. I learned a lot from the El Salvador loss and the Canada tie. It helps a lot coming on the field to try and be a little bit more patient. I think I lose my head a little bit at practice sometimes but you learn from all the stuff playing with guys who are playing at the highest level. Some of them have played in World Cups already, some are playing in Europe so you got to learn from them and bring it back here.
**L:** One of the biggest things you want to bring back is good habits. Like Gonzalo said you're playing with and against some unbelievable players who play all over the world and with the pace being faster you want to try to keep the good habits going and I think that's the challenge when you go away with the national team is to keep those good habits going and hopefully we do that.
**Every year MLS teams lose players for international duty. Whether it's for international tournaments like the Gold Cup or for World Cup Qualifying matches it hurts the teams and the quality of play in the league. If you were commissioner, would you change the schedule so that international players like yourselves don't have to miss any time?**
**G:** I would change the schedule. I mean every other league in the world has a different schedule [typically other leagues start in the late summer and end in the spring] and I would want to put it that way but right now we're going to keep the same schedule and we can't do anything about it.
**L:** It's never easy but other teams throughout the league get depleted too. It just happens and that's why you have a 24 man roster and guys can step in when guys leave for fixture dates that's why you have that number of guys on the roster.
Thanks a lot to the guys for the interview. Also, I interviewed these two players -- who I didn't recieve any suggestions for -- because the Tribune wanted the piece. Just wanted to clear the air on that. I will be interviewing someone before the game on Saturday -- Justin Mapp is the front runner right now -- so if you have any suggestions for questions (or other players for me to talk to) say so in the comments section or send me an email.