Here's some of what coach Sigi Schmid had to say today after Sounders' training in Tukwila:
"It was great today because...we had everyone out here. I think it's the first time, because even when we had the one group together the one day with Oba [Martins], [Pat] Ianni still wasn't back in the group. So this was the first time we've had all the players out and participating in training. It was a good feeling. Some of the things we worked on today I thought were good. The timing was off a little bit, obviously, because the people are a little bit different, but it was enjoyable."
On what players recovering from injuries were able to do today...) "Everybody pretty much did everything. We held Oba for a little bit-we just wanted to make sure he's OK-then we put him into the 11-v-11, as well, at the end and had him go full out and the goals in tight. Now it's just a matter of how people respond tomorrow. Eddie [Johnson] and a few guys came out and trained yesterday, even though it was an off-day, so Eddie was one of those guys. Brad [Evans] feels fine at this stage, as well. Patrick Ianni is very close, maybe just lagging behind on fitness a little bit. Everybody is pretty close right now."
On how having a bye next week affects the treatment of those players...) "We held Brad out last week because we wanted to make sure we didn't throw him back into it. At this stage right now, it shouldn't affect anybody per se, but that's still something we've got to talk about and see how guys recover from today and see what their numbers look like."
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On Colorado being a different team from last year...) "Yeah, they've definitely changed. Last year they were maybe a little more trying to be an inter-passing team, little short passing team, building out of the back, possession oriented in that way. Now they've just gone big and strong. They've got guys like Atiba Harris out there, [Edson] Buddle, and Deshorn Brown. The rookie's got good pace, he's decent sized-not as big as the other two. The new left fullback is just a big, strong guy, as well. They've got Henry Thomas in the middle of the midfield-another big, strong guy. Dillon Powers-another big guy. They've got a lot of guys that are six-foot or bigger in their starting lineup, so they've definitely become a lot more direct, playing a 4-2-3-1, and they just try and get after it a little more than last year. It's not as much short build-up out of the back."
On playing a Rapids team without Omar Cummings or Conor Casey...) "It's weird not seeing them, but teams always go through evolutions, teams always go through changes. Oscar [Pareja] is now in his second year, so he's putting his stamp on the team. He's obviously adjusted his philosophy from what he felt would be successful last year, and their last two games have been good results for them, so I'm sure they want to build on that."
On Josue Martinez training with club...) "We liked him when he played with Saprissa. He played against us with Saprissa when we were in the Champions League. Philadelphia had him, New York had him, and they let him go, so we felt this was a good opportunity to look at him because we also have two reserve games-one we just played and we have one coming up on Tuesday-so we felt we could give him a good look and make a decision at that point."
On the challenges of facing a team with so many young players...) "Not much. We've seen them play. We've seen [Shane] O'Neil play. Deshorn Brown we've seen play in the combine and in the league games they've played so far. None of those guys represent anything...that the team will not see beforehand or that we as a staff don't have an idea what they're all about."
On what he heard from Ezra Hendrickson about the Reserve League game on Monday...) "Ezra talked to me about who he thought played well. Obviously it was good to get a goal from [Eriq] Zavaleta. We played him up front-we've been going back and forth in terms of defense or forward, but right now it's probably more forward for him. There were some good moments in the game. [Marc] Burch had to play a little bit of midfield and in the back and showed that he was able to handle both, so that was good."