Here's today's training report from the club:
Sounders FC began the second cycle of coach Sigi Schmid’s 2-2-1 schedule, consisting of two-a-day practices on consecutive days with one session on the third day. Despite the sun and clear skies the temperatures remained in the mid-thirties for the morning session with a constant wind of six miles per hour (weather.com). Following warm-ups with fitness coach Dave Tenney, the group began several intense 5 v 5 short field games.
Schmid broke the field into three smaller fields. One field featured two small goals where every player had to cross the midfield line before a goal could be scored. The second field was a bit wider and had four small goals, two on each endline. On the third field, there were two big goals on either endline with goalkeepers in each net. Every team played two games on each field, rotating after six and a half minutes.
The play of midfielder Jonathan Prieto impressed the coaching staff as he scored four goals and hit one off the crossbar in 13 minutes of game time on the third field. The strong play and relentless effort of midfielder David Estrada also caught the eye of Schmid. Fredy Montero scored in both games on the third field and goalkeeper Bryan Meredith made a couple difficult saves, including a one-handed stop on Miguel Montaño’s close-range strike. Forward Pat Noonan participated in full training in the morning session, taking a rest every other game.
Training resumed in the afternoon with another one and a half hour session. The group was split into three teams of nine. Two teams played 9 v 9 with six small goals while the third team played soccer tennis on the side. Cones marked off lines 15 yards out to require teams to score from close-range, forcing the players to focus on short passes and ball movement. The teams then transitioned to a game with two big goals on either side of half of a field. The two-minute 9 v 9 games restricted players to three touches on the ball while the third team lined the sidelines and were allowed one touch.
Montero scored a highlight goal within the first minute of the first game when he beat the keeper with a bicycle kick. Montero chested Kasey Keller’s outlet pass and struck the ball over his head in midair. Prieto scored again and Kerry Baptiste returned to training to find the net twice.
Sounders FC will train on Friday morning and then play the Vancouver Whitecaps FC in a training game at Grande Sports World at 3 p.m. PT. The training game is open to the public and there will be a live blog on SoundersFC.com (http://sndrs.com/grl2).
Injury UpdateDefender Taylor Graham participated in warm-ups during both sessions and did work on the side. Forward Pat Noonan participated in the morning session and was held out of the afternoon session. Goalkeeper Terry Boss sat out both sessions due to sickness. Forward Kerry Baptiste ran and did work on the side during the morning session. Forward Blaise Nkufo sat out both sessions with a calf strain.
Quotes from Head Coach Sigi Schmid(On the morning training session…) “The object was today we played one game with big goals and one where you were defending two small goals but had a little more to do with changing the point of attack. The other game was keeping it tight. So everything had a little bit of a theme. But the main thing we wanted to work at the end of the day was 32.5 minutes of work. It’s good when you can get that work in. By the way, I have got to say hello from beautiful, warm, sunny Arizona. That’s why I got a wool hat on.”
(On Jonathan Prieto and other individual performances…) “Definitely you pay attention. There were some guys that stepped up. Prieto had a good game. I thought [David] Estrada was very effective when he played here. Some other guys were a little less effective but over the course of time it all evens out. You don’t get too high on one performance. You don’t get too low on one performance either. It was competitive, which is something that we are looking for, and some guys are showing they are adjusting. A guy like Prieto or [Corey] Attaway or [Leone] Cruz or [Servando] Carrasco all those new guys it’s how quickly are they starting to adapt to the speed of play. Today was a good day for Jonathan.”
(On goalkeeper conditioning…) “The goalkeepers aren’t exempt. They do their own work which is different because goalkeeping work requires a different type of conditioning. It’s not like they are going to run around the field all that often. So it’s reactions, it’s intensive and then it’s a little bit of nothing. Tommy [Dutra] does a good job with them and we always talk before practice. He knows exactly how much time he has with them so he puts in what he wants to work on on those particular days. He will get a session where he is going to have them for the whole afternoon and be able to work with them as well. Their conditioning is unique and special to them but they are doing the same thing we’re doing.”