The Sounders returned to training today at Starfire Sports Complex in Tukwila. Afterward we early from GM Garth Lagerwey, coach Sigi Schmid and central defender -- yep, central defender -- Brad Evans.
A few highlights:
* Schmid said midfielder Osvaldo Alonso is unlikely to be ready for the Sounders' first couple of games as he recovers from groin surgery. Schmid said the injury could keep him out six to eight weeks. Meanwhile, the likely replacements seen to be Micheal Azira or Andy Rose.
* Lagerwey implied he's generally pleased with the roster as it's currently constituted, but that personnel moves are being complicate by the unsettled collective bargaining agreement between the league and its players.
* Evans, the Sounders' player rep, said he isn't any more optimistic about a settlement than he was when camp began last month. He repeated that the key issue is some sort of free agency -- even within the salary cap structure -- and that the players absolutely are willing to strike over it.
*Lagerwey declined to discuss the negotiations.
*On the field, Evans implied his switch to central defense could be permanent. The versatile player told Sigi Schmid that he was willing to move to central defense, but not just to add to his versatility. If he moved he wanted to actually try to make that his position, and that seems to be where things are right now.
* Clint Dempsey also was absent from training today, with Schmid explaining he would likely get a few days off after duty with the U.S. national team.
* Schmid said he expects rookie Darwin Jones to contribute as the season moves along, and especially as his decision-making improves.
* The club isn't year ready to announce a new role in the organization for former defense Djimi Traore, however Schmid did say: "Djimi will have a role with this club. He was a fantastic part of our team over the last two years, not just what he does on the field, but what he contributes off the field and I think it’s important for our club to continue his involvement with us because he brings so many good qualities to us."