Meanwhile, here's the Monday report from the club:
After a weekend off, Sounders FC returned to the pitch for its final week of preseason training at Grande Sports World in Casa Grande, Arizona. The Monday morning training session began with two keep away games of 5v5 plus two neutral players. The group then split into teams of four and played 4v4 plus one neutral player. The neutral players (Brad Evans, Taylor Graham and Pat Noonan) participated in training but were limited. While two groups played 4v4, assistant coach Ezra Hendrickson put the other two teams through several shooting and finishing drills. With the rookie goalkeepers in net, players took shots from outside the 18-yard box. Midfielder Osvaldo Alonso showed his power and precision when he blasted a right-footed shot into the upper corner of the frame. All four goalkeepers had strong performances during the afternoon session. After the field players finished with a game of keep away with three teams of eight (two teams on offense while one team defended), coach Sigi Schmid put the group through three sets of 9v9 short field games with the focus on getting behind the defense. Danny Earls scored from 15 yards out and David Estrada combined with Jonathan Prieto for the only other goal. But it was the goalkeepers that made the plays of the day. Terry Boss returned to training in good form, making several difficult stops, including saves on Estrada’s and Miguel Montaño’s close-range strikes. Supplemental Draft pick Josh Ford had perhaps the most impressive sequence, stopping a strike from Steve Zakuani and then turning away O’Brian White’s rebound attempt. Sounders FC will face Real Salt Lake in a training game on Tuesday at 11 a.m. PT at Grande Sports World. The training game is open to the public and there will be a live blog on SoundersFC.com (http://sndrs.com/nv7l). Injury UpdateMidfielder Brad Evans, defender Taylor Graham and forward Pat Noonan participated as neutral players in the morning session and did light fitness work in the performance center in the afternoon. Goalkeeper Terry Boss returned to training after missing three days due to illness. Forward Blaise Nkufo did light work on the side during the morning session and fitness work in the performance center in the afternoon. Midfielder Michael Seamon was held out of the morning session with a leg injury but returned to full training in the afternoon.
Quotes from Head Coach Sigi Schmid(On Monday’s morning training session…) “It’s good. I think the day and a half off was needed by the guys and just getting away a little bit is something that is really important and now we can get back to work. The first practice when you have had a couple of days off is always a little rough around the edges sometimes so we just wanted to get some work done and work that out. But this afternoon I know we will be better and we will be ready to play tomorrow.” (On today’s drills…) “What we wanted to do is just, again, play to the small goals. We’re working on changing the point of attack, playing tight to the big goal so we get opportunities to finish and opportunities to scores goals and then we did a little bit of finishing as well. We stay away from that generally in the first week because muscles are a little too tight we don’t want to do a lot of shooting. But this week we will get into a little more shooting and things like that. This afternoon they will do a little bit of shooting on their own and in groups and sort of have their own time. It was good. We accomplished what we wanted to accomplish.” (On injured players…) “Brad [Evans] still feels the tweak a little bit but he can play as long as he avoids striking certain balls at this stage so it’s not where it’s hurting the practice performance. We got to see [Pat] Noonan, the first time he was full-on in. And Taylor [Graham] we tried to keep more as a neutral. So now it’s a matter of how they feel going into the afternoon. Noonan said he felt pretty good. It’s just general muscle soreness because he’s behind the other guys in terms of fitness.” Training Game Schedule (All Times Local)Tuesday, February 8 – CASA GRANDE – 12 p.m. – Training Game vs. Real Salt LakeThursday, February 10 – WESTSIDE SOCCER COMPLEX, PHOENIX – 11 a.m. – Training Game at Columbus CrewSaturday, February 12 – CASA GRANDE – 10:30 a.m. – Training Game vs. Chivas USA Throw-ins Temperatures on Monday reached a high of 70-degrees with sun and no wind…Supplemental Draft pick Corey Attaway and invitee Kerry Baptiste are no longer training with the club.