Seattle Sounders FC worked out for the first time today on their new field at the Starfire Sports Complex in Tukwila.
The place itself is a beautiful facility, as least from what we could tell between the raindrops -- a few of which were suspiciously fluffy and white.
"It was a little cold today," coach Sigi Schmid said. "It feels good to be in our home place and for the guys to get settled into the locker room. There are still little things that need to get finished up. Sort of like a house too, you want to live in it for a couple weeks then you realize that we still need to do this or do that. The field was good. I thought the training session today was good. We got a lot of work done. We were able to look at some video as well before practice from our last game. All those were positive."
Until now, the Sounder had trained at the Seahawks facility in Renton or Qwest Field in downtown Seattle. Starfire will be their long-term home, and the players seemed impressed.
"Everybody's excited," midfielder Brad Evans said. "To see these facilities, it keeps getting better. Try to continue that on Thursday."
Thursday, of course, is gameday: the Sounders inaugural game against New York Red Bulls before a sellout crowd at Qwest and a national television audience.
"There are all kinds of things left to do," Schmid said. "That's what we did this morning as a coaching staff; we really prioritized what we want to get accomplished still this week. We knew it was going to be a short week. So today we worked a little bit on 3 v 2 in front of goal. We worked a little bit on our back four working together. We wanted to get those things accomplished. We wanted to get some shooting in, so play goals in tight. Tomorrow we'll do some 11 v 11. It's really just our organization getting ourselves prepared to play against New York as we expect them to play."
More from Schmid:
Injury update: "(Taylor) Graham and (Peter) Vagenas won't be. The two of them won't be ready for the opener. Nate Sturgis is touch-and-go, whether he's going to be ready for the opener or not. Freddie (Ljungberg) and Jarrod Smith and (Steve) Zakuani were full into training today, so we're going to see how they feel tomorrow and that'll make a determination on their position."
On his starting 11: "Probably nine out of the 11 are definitely in my mind. Those other two, we're going to see which works best. A little bit of that is dependent upon the opponent, and a little bit of that is dependent upon our own fitness level and where we think about ourselves in terms of what helps us accomplish our goals."
The Sounders also announced the signings of a couple of players:
The Seattle Sounders FC has signed defender Zach Scott and forward Roger Levesque to Major League Soccer contracts, the team announced today.
Drafted 23rd overall by San Jose in the 2003 MLS SuperDraft, Levesque, 28, appeared in three games for the MLS Cup champions before being loaned to the USL-1 Sounders that same season.
Levesque became a mainstay with the Sounders from 2004 through 2008. He scored eight goals in 2004 and led the team with 10 goals in its championship season of 2005. In 2007, he was named All-USL second team, as the Sounders again won the title. He ranks fifth in franchise history with 27 goals, and seventh in assists (16) and games played (130).
Levesque, a graduate of Stanford University, is a two-time All-American (2001-02) and led the Cardinal to the NCAA semifinals as a junior and championship game as a senior. He played alongside Sounders FC defender Taylor Graham at Stanford and for the USL-1 Sounders.
"Roger is a player who has been committed to the Seattle area," said Coach Sigi Schmid. "He is very active and has a very good work rate."
Scott, 28, joins Sounders FC after playing the past seven seasons with the USL-1 Sounders, where he was a member of two championship teams in 2005 and 2007. He totaled 139 games, eight goals (two game-winners) and three assists in league play for Seattle. He finished sixth in total league appearances for the franchise (139) and fifth in minutes (11,171).
"Zach is a very hard-nosed consistent defender, who takes a lot of pride in his defending play," said Schmid. "He helps solidify our defense and make us stronger."
Scott, a Hawaii native, graduated from Gonzaga University in 2002.
Both Levesque and Scott have been training with the club since the beginning of training camp in January.