The Seattle Sounders completed the training portion of their South Carolina visit this morning at the College of Charleston. At 2 p.m. Saturday, they will meet D.C. United for the Carolina Challenge Cup. Then they will fly home for game-week preparations for the start of their sixth MLS season March 8 against Sporting Kansas City at CenturyLink Field.
Here's some of what coach Sigi Schmid had to say about the time in Carolina and the one training game left to play:
On D.C. United: Obviously they made a lot of changes. I think the other night when we watched them it was seven new faces on the field. It will be an interesting game. Obviously there are guys on that team that we know in Jeff Parke and Eddie Johnson. But both teams right now are trying to do the same thing: Get ready for March 8.
On playing for a cup: Any time you can win a trophy you want to do it. You don’t want to give it away. But on the same token, we know that we want to win the hardware that takes place in the MLS season. And that’s our goal: Anytime we can establish a winning tradition within our group, that’s important.
On returning home: We’re looking forward to getting the season under way. We want to get to Seattle, because that’s required for us to get the season under way. We hope the weather warms up in Seattle for us as well, that our fans have a nice afternoon to come to the game on March 8. The guys are getting antsy, they guys are excited, the guys want the real thing to start.
On whether future camps will bounce between Seattle and warmer locations: I think we’ve consistently gone to Arizona for part of our preseason time. We had wanted to come here because we hadn’t been to this tournament and we had made a commitment to that. But I think Arizona is always going to play a roll in our preseason. Whether it becomes the entire preseason or becomes a good portion of preseason, but I think it’s always going to play a role for us.
On the advantage of some preseason training near Seattle: The thing is guys are away from home so long, you don’t want them away from home that long. In Seattle in February we’re still able to train. It’s not like we’ve had snow on the ground or things like that to prevent us from training. This winter maybe it’s been a little bit colder than the last ones. It’s a little bit by ear, but we always have that flexibility on the turf field. So I think letting the guys get back home and seeing their families and then going again is the best way.