The Sounders trained this morning on the Microsoft campus in Redmond, working on an artificial turf field surrounded by a few hundred fans and curious employees.
The shift from their normal training venues was simply a nod to Microsoft as the jersey sponsor (Xbox).
The players said they enjoyed the break from the routine and especially playing in front of a crowd. Although midfielder Freddie Ljungberg said he had never seen anything like it during the decade he spent in the English Premier League.
"For me it's a little bit weird, but it's nice," he said. "They do a lot for us, and if we can give something back to the company and the community to be honest I think it's great. So much people show up just for the practice, I think it's amazing."
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Ljungberg twisted his ankle late in the work. He said it hurts him to walk but expects he will be able to tape it up and play Saturday against Chelsea.
Meanwhile, the Sounders announced they have released forward Jarrod Smith.
Smith, 25, had been taken from Toronto in the expansion draft, but has been on disabled list since March 5. He went through whas was called successful surgert kast week to repair a torn right hamstring tendon. He watched the practice at Microsoft today -- crutches at his side -- and will continue his rehab with the team, which retains his MLS rights.