Jeff Parke, Sounders FC’s defender of the year last season, hasn’t played a minute in the club’s first two games of 2012.
He is healthy.
He is not happy.
“It’s frustrating, but the only thing I can do is go out and play and push for the spot,” Parke said Wednesday. “Do I agree? No. Do I think that’s the reality of it? No. But that’s (coach Sigi Schmid’s) take, and everybody is entitled to his own opinions and thoughts. I’ll try my best to keep the frustration and anger down, but it definitely is something that has been frustrating.”
Parke’s last appearance was in the 6-1 loss at Santos Laguna that knocked Seattle out of CONCACAF Champions League.
In the MLS opener against Toronto, Schmid explained that he was resting some of those who had played at Santos just three days earlier.
But Parke remained out of the lineup the next week, when Schmid again put Patrick Ianni and Jhon Kennedy Hurtado in the middle of his back line.
“Sometimes you don’t want to change a winning team,” Schmid said after the 2-0 victory. “We won last week, 3-1; defensively we did all right. (Houston is) Patrick’s old team, so you’re always a little more motivated, a little more geared up to play your old team. So we felt that familiarity, and based upon the fact that we got a good result last week, we didn’t want to change the middle pair.”
Seattle is 2-0 with a 0.50 goals-against average over the two games Ianni and Hurtado have started.
Last season, Parke was third on the team among field players with 28 starts and 2,387 minutes played. After the season, his teammates voted him the top defensive player. This spring he made his first appearance with the U.S. national team.
After the sudden benching, Parke, 30, went to Schmid for an explanation.
“(I) was just showing frustration, telling how I felt, and telling him where it was and what I thought was going on,” Parke said. “And he told me what he thought. There was no yelling, there was nothing like that. But there’s definitely frustration and disappointment in it. But I guess, like I said, that’s part of the game and part of what happens in sports. It’s not always your way.”
Earlier this week Schmid said he considers Ianni, Hurtado and Parke to be starting-quality center backs.
He has not announced his lineup plans for the MLS home match Saturday against San Jose.
CASCADIA AND CHELSEA
Sounders general manager Adrian Hanauer said 1,500 tickets will be made available to Portland and Vancouver supporters for this season’s Cascadia Cup games at CenturyLink Field.
Last season, 500 tickets were available for each Cascadia game. And this season, 750 to 800 will be made available to Sounders supporters traveling to Portland and Vancouver.
Hanauer said the Sounders will make roughly twice as many away tickets available because Seattle visits both of the other cities twice this season, while hosting each only once.
CenturyLink’s upper deck will be opened for both games, as well as for the Aug. 5 game with Los Angeles and the July 18 friendly against Chelsea. The four matches are being marketed together in a special ticket package.
“The idea is to get 50,000-plus for all of those games and expose some new fans to the team and give some people who maybe can’t afford a season ticket another product to buy,” Hanauer said. “That atmosphere in the stadium with 55,000-60,000 fans is unbelievable and gives us just that little bit of an additional edge hopefully as far as a home-field advantage goes.”
Assistant coach Brian Schmetzer led the Sounders through training Wednesday at Starfire Sports Complex in Tukwila while Schmid was away on what the club called a personal matter. Houston midfielder Colin Clark has been suspended for three games and fined an undisclosed amount for shouting a gay slur at a ball boy during the match last week in Seattle. Clark also must attend diversity and sensitivity training. Sounders Women announced the signing of defender Stephanie Cox, who has 81 caps with the U.S. national team. She is the 10th internationally experienced player signed by the club.
Don Ruiz, 253-597-8808 firstname.lastname@example.org twitter/donruiztnt blog.thenewstribune.com/soccer