Sounders Insider

SSFC settles in at Argentina, games start Friday

Sounders FC will play its first training game of its current trip to Argentina at 5 a.m. (PT) Friday morning at Estudiantes de La Plata.

Tonight, Sigi Schmid and several staff members are scheduled to attend the Copa Libertadores group stage game between Estudiantes de La Plata and Bolivia's Universitario.

On Sunday, the entire team will go to the La Bombonera, home of Boca Juniors, to see an Argentine first division game against Huracan. Schmid is also interested in attending training sessions held by the various Buenos Aires first division teams during the next week.

Some quotes from Schmid, provided by SoundersFC:

On how the team has responded to the travel:

"It's gone all right. The second day is always the toughest day. The first day you're sort of like a zombie and you just keep going, keep moving and you sort of don't realize what you're doing. The second day is where fatigue hits you a little bit and the time change will hit you. But the team's done well.

"We play in a league where you go through three-hour time changes. It's not six hours like this, but you have to adjust to it. There's certainly a physiological adjustment, but also part of it is psychological, and in our league it's important to deal with time changes and not let it slow you down psychologically."

On how the points of emphasis while training and playing there:

"The emphasis is two-fold. One is on our collective defending because the Argentine teams are good at keeping possession. Defensively you have to be really good about keeping your shape and really good about your patience and really good about staying mentally focused because during their time of possession you can't get exposed; you can't get drawn apart. The second aspect is, because they hold on to the ball, you want to hold on to the ball when you get it. Otherwise you will feel like you played 75 percent of the game chasing the ball around. This will help our possession orientation because it makes you value your own possession. You realize if you don't keep the ball, you're going to be chasing it around for a long time. When you give it away, it will be a long time until you get it back. It works on both aspects of our game, but it's important for us psychologically, defensively and possession-wise. That's what we're going to get out of these games."

On attending games and training sessions:

"To watch other teams train is both fun and work. The way you learn is by always watching other teams train. You see if you can pick up something new, something different. You see how those coaches interact with their players. It's a good learning experience, and gives you an idea how other players train, what kind of intensity, how they enjoy their training sessions.

"Watching games is a learning experience, and it's also fun. The learning experience comes from the fact that you always see more live than you do on TV. So much of the game is played without the ball and on TV all you really see is the ball. When you go to a game live, you see how high they push the line of defense, where they establish their line of defense, how the players move away from the ball, how they set-up space on the far side of the field. You see all those things by watching the game live. And I love soccer, so I love going to soccer games. You feel the atmosphere in the stadium. This will be my first Copa Libertadores game and my first game at Estudiantes. That's the fan aspect of it: now I can say I've done that."

Personnel update:

Players present for the second day of training in Argentina:

Goalkeepers (3): Evan Bush, Chris Eylander, Kasey Keller

Defenders: Evan Brown, Taylor Graham, John Kennedy Hurtado, Patrick Ianni, Jared Karkas, Tyrone Marshall, James Riley, Zach Scott, Nathan Sturgis, Tyson Wahl

Midfielders: Osvaldo Alonso, Brad Evans, Sebastien Le Toux, Stephen King, Sanna Nyassi, Michael Fucito, Ryan Caugherty

Forwards: Jeff Clark, Nate Jaqua, Roger Levesque, Fredy Montero, Steve Zakuani

Graham (foot) remained on the sideline and Zakuani (ankle) was limited to fitness work.