The Sounders resumed training today at Starfire Sports Complex in Tukwila.
Here's part of what coach Sigi Schmid had to say after training:
On roster cuts) “Like I said, the cuts we made from Arizona to here are going to depend on what they did. It could be one guy, it could be four guys. We basically reduced by one but this is the final group that we are looking at to pick the final 28-30.”
On roster size) “It can be anywhere from 28-30 in terms of the guys we have on our roster. How many guys are locks or whatever? I wouldn’t know. I would tell you maybe 15 guys are locks, 14 or 15. The rest is all open as far as I’m concerned because people push people up into different earnings categories and you’ve got to try and put your best team together. Some of it depends upon positional needs. So if you have a good young player but he plays a certain position it might knock off a veteran player who plays in that same position because you save a little bit of money so that helps you out on the cap side of things. How is going to fit under the cap? All of those are questions. I would say probably 13, 14 guys are pretty secure and you’d say those guys are automatic but the rest of the guys are in a little bit of competition.”
On O’Brian White) “He’s done well, and you try to bring attention to people that have done well. His attitude has been good. He has worked hard. We still feel he is getting fit. As he moves forward in that process I think that play will come along. Everybody goes through a process where they are playing well, they drop off a little bit then hopefully they play well again at the end.”
On Pat Noonan) “He is fighting for a roster spot just like all the other guys just because he is coming off an injury and he’s been injured. Taylor Graham, same thing. It was good for Taylor and Pat now to be full in training. Obviously that gives us the opportunity to play them in games and then they’ll decide how it turns out. I always say, ‘Coaches don’t make decisions. Players make decisions for you.’ They are the ones through their performance that either put themselves on the team or play their way off the team.” On Nate Jaqua) “It’s good to see him back. We welcomed him back and said, ‘We have a new player here, big guy. We hear he is alright in front of goal and he’s got good size and he can head the ball.’ So that was Nate. It was good. He was running. He’ll continue to do some more running and more work and we will gradually increase it. We will take him with us to Florida because now he is able to participate in the team warm-ups and the passing exercises and hopefully as the week goes by in Florida he will be able to participate as a neutral player. Our prognosis as to when we see him in a game is probably going to be right around the start of the season. His process in terms of getting on the field for an MLS game is probably two or three weeks into the season.”
On the group traveling to Florida) “We’ve got some guys that we wanted to continue to give a look to. There are some tough battles going on in terms of positions. Young players one day a guy steps up, a guy steps back, the next day a guy steps up. We went through the exercise if we had to pick our team now we would be able to pick it and then we just decided, ‘Hey, it’s good to give these guys just one more look.’ You don’t know if a guy picks up an injury down there. So number-wise and the way our games were scheduled there because we have got to play our first two games on a Monday, Tuesday. So with it being a Monday, Tuesday and with it being so tight we really felt we wanted enough players to make sure we didn’t get ourselves in trouble in terms of trying to put a key player into a situation where he might get injured. A long answer to a short question basically we still want to look at these guys.”
On the team’s fitness level) “I thought we were ahead coming into the season. We put more work in in Arizona than we did in Arizona last year. When we look at the numbers and the outputs and so forth of the players we feel alright. There were a lot of guys pretty much, at the end of the Arizona camp, were pretty beat. Now they have had a time to rejuvenate. The first day back when you are off for three, four days is never the best day because guys are a little sluggish and guys are trying to get back in the rhythm. But it was actually pretty uplifting. Guys looked sharp and quick and so forth, although a little rusty. Tomorrow should be a good day.”