Sounders Insider

Fans buzzing for Barca; Keller not so much ...

Just minutes after the Sounders 4-0 loss at San Jose on Sunday, veteran goalkeeper Kasey Keller was asked about this week's international friendly against FC Barcelona.

"I'd like to say it's going to be a nice game Wednesday against Barcelona, but for me that game is a pain in the (butt)," Keller said. "It's all right: We'll go do a professional job, have a good game against Barcelona and be ready to play the next weekend."

I've written more about this for the Tuesday paper, because Keller never said anything quite like that in the days leading up to the Chelsea game. But things were different then.

Simply as a matter of timing, the Chelsea game came during a bye week in the MLS schedule -- therefore a week before and a week after league games.

For another thing, the Sounders were feeling a better about themselves back then. They entered that Chelsea game on a three-game league winning streak, and a six-game non-losing streak.

Now, in the two league games since the 2-0 loss to Chelsea, the Sounders haven't scored a goal while going 0-1-1.

So, Keller believes his team had better devote full concentration to its return to regular-season play Saturday at Salt Lake.

"I could care less about Wednesday, to be honest," Keller said. "Yeah, it's a great occasion for the fans, and for the guys. For me, personally, I would much rather have a good hard week of training and get ready for the league game. For the fans, for the ownership group, for some of the guys, it's a fantastic experience and atmosphere. I think we just have to go into that game like it's a hard training session. Hopefully, we don't get any injuries and we come out of it ready for next weekend."

On the other hand, Barcelona's visit seems to have excited Northwest soccer fans even more than Chelsea's. While there were almost 2,000 unsold seats for the Blues 2-0 win over the Sounders, the last of the Barcelona tickets disappeared last week.

Today, the Sounders put out a release advising fans to arrive early (the gates of Qwest Field will open two hours before the 7:30 p.m. kickoff) and to consider mass transit.

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