I'm not seeing my preview story on line this morning, so here's it is, dealing mostly with personnel additions for today's game.
SANTA CLARA, CALIF. – New faces could dot the pitch at noon today when Seattle Sounders FC resumes its MLS regular season against the San Jose Earthquakes.
Sounders midfielder Brad Evans is expected to return to midfield after duty with the United States national team.
And defender Leonardo Gonzalez could finally make his Sounders debut, which has been delayed a month since his signing due to time with the Costa Rican national team.
"It's a good opportunity to play in Seattle with an MLS team that is doing a lot of good things in the league," Gonzalez said through a Sounders' interpreter after training last week. "I am excited to be able to try to contribute to the team. . . . I had a chance to come a couple of months ago, and I had a chance to meet the team and see the city. Immediately, I saw what the team was trying to accomplish. It's a new team, but I saw that they had great ambitions in this league. I think it is a great opportunity for me as a player to grow and continue my career."
Sounders coach Sigi Schmid would not say whether Gonzalez will play today, and a team spokesman would not confirm if Gonzalez had traveled to California.
"You don't want to throw him in there before he has really got a little bit of knowledge of the team and integration in the team," Schmid said. "He is obviously somebody we are looking at at the left back position. He can also play wide left and midfield. He can play as a center back as well."
Gonzalez played last season with Municipal Liberia, which won the Costa Rican championship. He has made 60 appearances for the national team, including three starts in the 2006 World Cup.
He sees himself at left back, which has been one of the most fluid spots of the Sounders lineup, with Patrick Ianni, Nate Sturgis, Zach Scott and Tyson Wahl all taking their turns.
"I am a left back who is technically pretty sound," he said. "I like to get forward in the attack. I feel like I am pretty good defensively, and I want to be somebody who can do my role and do whatever it takes to allow the team to have success. … I had the opportunity to watch some (Sounders) games in Costa Rica and see the way the team plays. I think I can fit in well with a system that likes to get forward and to attack. I can be able to fit into the style of the team."
Evans also could figure into the mix at outside back, after getting time there with the national team. However, he seems more likely to return to his more familiar spot at midfield.
"Soccer is soccer," Schmid said. "(Evans) will be able to play. I'm not worried about that. We have been playing him in (training) in the middle of midfield, which is his position, which is the one he had earned and won. He's not going to lose it because he left for the national team."
Evans could be especially valuable there today because Seattle will be without midfielder Freddie Ljungberg, who is serving a one-game suspension after receiving a red card in his last league game against Chicago.
The other three Sounders who played in the MLS All-Star game on Wednesday – goalkeeper Kasey Keller, forward Fredy Montero and defender Jhon Kennedy Hurtado – are expected to play today.
Meanwhile, struggling San Jose hopes for a boost from the debut of Brazilian midfielder Andre Luiz Moreira. He most recently played for Jaguares de Chiapas FC in the Mexican First Division, scoring four goals in 51 appearances since signing there in 2007. He also has two goals in 21 appearances for the Brazilian national team. He also was a member of Brazil's bronze medal-winning team from the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta.
This also should mark the second game in San Jose for Ramon Sanchez. The central midfielder and captain of the Salvadoran national team captain made a good first impression with the Earthquakes, helping them come from two goals down in their last match against D.C. United, finally earning a draw that ended a two-game losing streak.
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