The Sounders trained this morning at Starfire, one eye on the Tuesday friendly against Club Tijuana and one of the return to league play Saturday at Dallas.
Some of what coach Sigi Schmid had to say:
On the two-game week: They’d always rather play than practice. It’s an opportunity also to get some guys some minutes who haven’t gotten a lot of first-team minutes at this stage as well.
On the Tijuana friendly: It’s going to be a good test for us. We get a chance to see again how a team from that part of the world plays, in terms of Mexican teams and even Central American teams are a little different, so it’s a good thing to put in the back of our heads as we approach Champions League in August. It’s also a good thing because we need to test some guys under the first of that type of competition so we’ll know who can step up because you’ve got to start rotating your team when you’re playing games in Champions League and MLS. So it’s good for that.
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On the Tijuana lineup: It’s going to be a mix, I’m sure. On their list there are a lot of first-team guys that are coming up for them. They played a pretty similar lineup the last two weeks against Vera Cruz and Cruz Azul. So they’re going to bring a mix. But they’ve got some guys, their central midfield was called in for the Mexican national team. Garza was called in to the U.S. national team, so they’re missing some guys that way. A couple of guys got called in to the youth team, so those guys will be missing as well. So it will be a mix, but there will be first-team guys out there for sure.
On the Sounders lineup: We still have a game against Dallas on Saturday. We want to make sure we’re ready for that. We’re missing a couple of people with Dempsey and Pappa, so we’ve got to be prepared for that. We obviously don’t want to push Tyrone or Alaonso in this game on Tuesday. Marshall’s got a little bit of a thing as well, where he was much, much better today. If the Dallas game were tomorrow he would be ready to play, but we’re going to hold him out a little bit as well, so it gives us a chance to play those other guys.
On Sounders facing Dallas with Dempsey and Pappa on international duty: We’ve got players who can play. It’s their opportunity to step forward and their opporuntiy to play at this point. We feel confident even with Ozzie’s situation right now and so forth. We’re still confident in the depth of our team.