Sounders Insider

Sounders training shifting to Arizona

With their first phase of training behind them, the Sounders will fly Wednesday to Arizona, where it will work through Feb. 11 at the Casa Grande Performance Institute south of Phoenix.

Here's some of what coach Sigi Schmid said today about the remaining of Seattle's preseason schedule:

On the goals for Arizona: “We want to incorporate the new guys, (David) Estrada. (Michael) Seamon is not here right now, but see how Estrada does, see how (Jamel) Wallace does and so forth. We’ve got some other guys coming in when we go to Phoenix. So we’ll take a look at those players as well. We want to see their quality. We want to improve certain aspects of our game. We want to be able to play a little quicker. Not to play in a hurry, but to play quicker. We want to be able to be more aggressive in the box. So we want to gear our game towards that. So a lot of what we did yesterday in terms of making them get a shot off at a certain time. Today we were working on good diagonal runs, getting points for playing balls to be people in the end zone. It’s all about, can we play a little quicker? Can we get behind defenses? Can we be more aggressive in the final third of the field? Because obviously defensively last year we were amongst the best in the league. Offensively we can add another five, six, seven goals to our offensive production. That makes all the difference between finishing where we did and maybe finishing as Supporters’ Shield winners.”
On training in Phoenix: “Obviously a lot of the teams on the east coast have gone down to Bradenton and gone down to Florida. And for us, that’s way at the other end. So if we could find something on the west coast. Last year we went to Ventura and then Casa Grande became known to us. Adrian knew about the situation. I heard about the situation. So we went down I checked it out. Greg Vanney, who did the color commentary for us last year, he’s down there. He’s actually working with the facility right now, making sure everything is ready. We felt it was a good place to come and train at the fields. And the fields are good right now. They’re going to be better next year because they’re in their first year. When Bermuda is in its first year it takes a while. You can’t oversee Bermuda too early because if you do that you kill of the root system. So it’s going to be a little dormant looking. It’s going to look a little not green per se. They’re going to have a total of nine fields at the end of the day. The facility itself, the locker room setups are actually much better than what it is in Bradenton. So you know you’re not changing in hotel rooms and trying to do gear in hotel rooms. You actually have locker rooms and you’re working with that. Our equipment guy has an equipment room to work out of. So all of that is good. We checked it out and we felt it was a good place. There’s other teams that have become aware of it as well, so there’s a number of teams. It seems like this is the year everybody has gone to Phoenix.”
On possibility of going to Arizona each year: “We’d like to see if we can make that sort of a permanent thing. Going down to Arizona makes sense. Especially now that we know that more teams are coming into it may be a situation that we might not have to go to places like La Manga. We might still want to go overseas, but maybe the overseas trip is a little shorter, maybe Arizona becomes a little longer. So it becomes a little bit of fitness. This is what we used to do at Columbus is we’d go to Florida and the first phase would be basically fitness, and the second phase would be games. So with as many teams coming in, I could have easily seen us spending three weeks there and so the first week to 10 days is fitness, and the last week to 10 days is games. It could be a good situation. We’d like it to be a little closer to Phoenix, but it’s also good the way it is because you can concentrate on what you’re doing.”