The Sounders are off the practice field for another day. And coach Sigi Schmid had his team working on natural grass today, even though they'll be on the FieldTurf of Qwest Field on Saturday when they return to action against San Jose.
However, the grass is easier on the players' bodies, and now that we're into the middle portion of the long MLS season, that's a significant concern.
The day also passed without any firm determination of the availability of Osvaldo Alonso or Peter Vagenas. Alonso seems most likely to be available Saturday. And Schmid said Vagenas come through his medical tests Monday with no particular smoking gun of an injury beyond the toll of a lifetime of soccer.
"Pete got looked up by the doctors," Schmid said. "So they want to see how it goes today. There's nothing seriously wrong except for impingements in there. With years and years of playing if you play soccer, your knees and ankles don't look like anybody else's knees and ankles anymore. So he just has to work through that. Osvaldo I think could have probably done a little bit more, could have probably pushed into the final stage, but since today was the first day back we just wanted to do that much. And he came through all that okay. So we'll see how he feels tomorrow, and we'll go from there."
During and after the work, Schmid seemed to demand his team's attention with some loud and clear instructions of what he wanted -- and what he wants are not only goals, but the kind of attitude that leads to goals.
"What we talked about at the end is that scoring goals is an attitude," he said. "I could sit here and we could draw up a run to make it into the box right now, and how to combine and everything, but it's all about an attitude in the box. It's about an attitude that I want to get to that ball ahead of you; that means I've got to fight, I've got to scratch, I've got to crawl. There was a play in the Chivas game towards late in the second half, there's a ball that gets deflected and comes up in the air. I don't know who was there first, but somebody in the box wants to challenge. Trujillo pulls back, just turns, doesn't even look at the ball, and just goes, it was like he was boxing out for a rebound, just goes on body checks our guy. He just says 'look, if you're going to get to the ball, you're going to have to beat me up to get there.' We just have to have a little bit more of that attitude in the box. And referees don't call that. So we have to be a little more physical in the box. That was the one thing we talked about. I think we have to have a shoot first mentality. We scored a really good goal in the exercise right before that where it was a nice little one-two combination in box. But that got set up because Osvaldo (Alonso) set the ball up to shoot, and then the defender reacted well to block the shot and then he hit a one-two. He did the second thing to get around him. And sometimes I think we look to pass first in the box rather than shoot first. Again it's an attitudinal thing, and I want us to be a little more, I don't know if focused is the right word, I want us to have a more aggressive attitude towards the goal and in and around the 18-yard line."