The arrival of Marcus Hahnemann dominated my early posts today, but there was other news today as the Sounders began a week that will include a possibly decisive CONCACAF Champions League match Wednesday at Marathon and a shot at MLS-leading San Jose on Saturday.
Some notes from coach Sigi Schmid:On playing CD Marathon) "We're familiar with the stadium and the city and so forth because we've been there before. We've seen their game with Caledonia-the team saw a lot of the highlights from that before we played Caledonia the last time. We've got about four games on tape that we're looking at right now, so we'll give them more information. They've got a good wide left midfielder, they've got a good central midfielder, they play through a lot. They have a couple of strong forwards-not necessarily big, but really robust, strong type guys. They're a good, solid team. The coach is the same coach they had in 2010. He was gone for the beginning of last year, but then came back, so they're pretty similar in their playing style."
On potentially clinching the group and the importance of Wednesday's game) "Obviously, a win down there would clinch the group for us. A tie means all we have to do is tie up here in that last game at home. If we could clinch the group that's something we want to do, but we also want to keep our eye on the game on Saturday and make sure we're ready for that one, as well."
On balancing the CCL game and a big MLS game) "Obviously, it's something that comes with territory and something we've become used to as a group so we don't talk about it a lot. This trip is an easier trip than the trip to Trinidad. We'll fly out today, we'll stay in Houston tonight, and then we'll fly from Houston the rest of the way tomorrow morning. So the guys should have a good night's sleep in between, which is important, and it breaks up the travel for us. We got a training day in today, so we don't lose a training day. We'll have training in the stadium tomorrow after we get down there. From that standpoint, it's a lot easier trip at the end of the day. Mario [Martinez] will be the star and will be the focus-the other guys can just concentrate on the game and let Mario do all the press interviews."
On if Christian Tiffert, Mauro Rosales, or David Estrada will travel to Honduras) "We're not going to take any of those three. We're leaving them at home. I think they're close. I think Rosales could probably play if we needed to. Tiffert could probably play in this one if we needed to, but we're going to hold them a little bit for Saturday. Estrada that was his first minutes on Sunday in the reserve game, and practice is practice and games are games, so it was a little bit different soreness for him today, so we're going to leave him."
On Marcus Hahnemann joining the club) "The big rookie? He's all right. For him, I'm sure it's just a matter of getting back into the rhythm. For us, the delicate part of the training is to train him and get him fit, but also not put into a situation where he's going to pull an injury or something like that. Tommy [Dutra] is pretty good about that. He had a good, hard training session today. Then while we're gone, Kurt [Schmid] will work with him, Tommy and he have already spoken, so he knows what the plan is. Then we'll probably just do a little bit of just running and stuff like that on Wednesday."
On Estrada's return from foot injury) "He came through it well. It took a little longer than we had hoped for him to come back from the injury. His fracture, I guess, was a little bit more severe than the last one, and there was also another type of stress element that was at work there. That's why it took him a little longer. He feels good. He was fit for 45 minutes, there was no doubt about that. He's always fit, and he runs well and he was unlucky on a couple of opportunities that he had in the game."