Seattle Sounders FC players and coaches arrived in Casa Grande, Ariz. on Wednesday morning to begin the seven-day training camp in the Arizona desert. Head coach Sigi Schmid has scheduled nine training sessions, including three two-a-day sessions, as well as a training game against the Portland Timbers on February 5. A total of 30 players made the trip, which includes returning players, draft picks and invitees. Four Sounders FC players are currently with their national teams while defender Patrick Ianni stayed in Seattle to rehab a foot injury. After arriving in Phoenix on Tuesday night, the team bussed from Scottsdale to Casa Grande on Wednesday morning and held its first training session upon arrival at 11:30 a.m. The light morning session began with 8v2 keep away drills before the group split into three teams of eight players for a series of small-field scrimmages. The afternoon session featured two 15-minute 11v11 games on a full field before the team ended the day with crossing and finishing work.
Defender Mason Trafford joined the team for the afternoon session and is expected to remain with the team throughout the week. Trafford, who recently earned his first international cap with Canada and was an unused substitute in Tuesday’s friendly against the United States, grew up in Vancouver, B.C., playing for the Whitecaps in 2008-09, and also played collegiately (UNLV) and professionally (IFK Mariehamn) with Lamar Neagle. Sounders FC will train twice tomorrow followed by one session on Friday. Sounders FC Training Camp Participants Goalkeepers: Josh Ford, Michael Gspurning, Marcus Hahnemann, Doug Herrick- Defenders: Marc Burch, Andrew Duran, Leo Gonzalez, Jhon Kennedy Hurtado, Patrick Ianni**, Adam Johansson*, Dylan Remick+, Zach Scott, Mason Trafford-, DeAndre Yedlin, Eriq Zavaleta+ Midfielders: Osvaldo Alonso, Servando Carrasco, Alex Caskey, Guy Essame-, David Estrada, Brad Evans*, Ashani Fairclough-, Phillip Lund-, Mario Martinez*, Lamar Neagle, Kevin Olali+, Mauro Rosales, Andy Rose, Christian Tiffert, Steve Zakuani.
Forwards: Travis Bowen-, Eddie Johnson*, Lebogang Moloto+, Sammy Ochoa, Jennings Rex+, Babayele Sodade. *Away with National Team **Stayed in Seattle to Rehab Injury +2013 SuperDraft or Supplemental Draft Pick -Invitees
Quotes from Head Coach Sigi Schmid(On the first day in Arizona…) “The sun. The blue skies. It was good. It warmed up during the say so it was good. For us, with the flight yesterday and the bus ride this morning we wanted this to be a little bit of a lighter session where the guys could recover a little bit. It was good. We achieved that. I thought the guys again had a good spirit in the session, so I was happy.” (On the group of players…) “It’s forming. We are pretty early so it will form over the next two-three days and the guys who have been here before will tell the guys who haven’t been here before that there’s really not much to do, so they can hang out with each other. It’ll form along here as we talk to the guys. It’s a good time now to get to know each other, talk to each other, don’t just talk to the guys you already know, meet somebody new. Our team is pretty good about welcoming new guys to the team.” (On deciding roommate assignments…) “We sort of mix it. Sometimes we put some veteran guys together. Some guys have some nuances that nobody wants to deal with. For the most part we try to get them paired up with somebody different than they pair up with during the season. When we travel during the season we sort of let them decide who they would like as roommates, so that they are in a good, consistent rhythm on the road. […] Like I said, they get to know each other and they spend time with somebody different.” (On the U.S. friendly on Tuesday night…) “I took from the game that it was a U.S. team that obviously had trained a lot, and they were a team that looked maybe a little bit tired from having trained that much. When you train that long and don’t have a game and you play a scrimmage […] you sort of get fatigued a little bit. Obviously Jurgen [Klinsmann] got out of it what he wanted to get out of it and the training was very important. Brad [Evans] showed his versatility by being able to play midfield and being able to play outside back. I think that is something that will help him with the national team because sometimes when you are picking your squad of 18, 19, 20 it’s great to have a player who can play a number of different positions available to you. Eddie [Johnson] I thought did a good job holding up the ball, but as a whole team they weren’t goal dangerous. But the game went that way. The U.S. had more possession and Canada was very intent on keeping a zero at the other end of the field.” Throw-ins Seattle trained in 60-degree weather and sunshine. The temperature is expected to climb into the low 70s tomorrow…The Vancouver Whitecaps FC are the only other MLS team currently training at Grande Sports World and were training on the fields adjacent to Sounders FC today…The attached photos are available for internet use. Please credit SoundersFC.com.