Sounders Insider

Brazilian's play not 'as good as expected'

Here's the Sounders' Friday report from La Manga:

Morning: The team did weight training and regeneration work at the indoor fitness center. A team meeting and breakdown of video from the Rosenborg match preceded the midday meal.

Afternoon: The rain which had arrived midday Thursday continued through the night and most of Friday morning, left the training pitches soft and the footing unsure. But apart from a passing shower, the 4:30 session outdoors was dry, if breezy. The 65-minute workout focused on passing and movement off the ball. A 15-minute game of 11 v 11 on a short field ended scoreless.

Sounders FC will train twice on Saturday, play Norway’s Stabak at 6 a.m. Sunday (PT) and then have Monday off.

Quotes from head coach Sigi Schmid:

On the team’s coaching staff’s emphasis for training) We just wanted to get some points across. I thought our movement off the ball yesterday wasn’t good and I thought our speed of play wasn’t good. That was something we talked about when we looked at video today. I know that yesterday was a tough day from the standpoint of travel and everything else, and obviously we played a tough team in Rosenborg. There’s a reason that all the other Norwegian teams didn’t want to play them in the first game because they wanted a chance to win the (prize) money. Rosenborg’s a good team but by the same token we know we can play better than we did. Today we just worked on those things in a reminder fashion, and I thought the little bit of 11 v 11 we played was pretty sharp. We accomplished what we wanted.

On Steve Zakuani’s status) He’s cleared right now for full out in training. He’s wearing the (shoulder) brace and we hope on March 1st that he will be able to play in games and so forth. Right now he’s still not cleared for games, but we brought him here for training. We’re trying to give him as much hard work as we can in training. It’s good that he’s here. He’s coped with it well. If you watched Steve play last year, I don’t think there’s any question of his skills or his dribbling ability or that part of his game. The part that he needed to develop was his endurance, his fitness level. So in a way it’s allowed him to work on some of that and make gains there. You couple that with the skills that he has and he’ll be a more dangerous player this year.

On new invitees Rayner Michael and Jeff Parke) We didn’t play Jeff Parke (in the Rosenborg match). We just wanted to get him through training and not pull anything. If he feels OK we’ll probably get him into the game on Sunday. Rayner had an opportunity to show in 45 minutes. It maybe wasn’t as good as we expected although it was a difficult 45 minutes with the rain and the weather. We’ll make a decision on him in the next day or so.

On setting a level for acceptable) We know what we did on Thursday wasn’t acceptable. We talked about it, we told the team about it. Rosenborg came out and obviously started very well. But if they’re a five-speed car, they put it back into third or fourth after they got up 2-0. They still had a fifth gear to go if we would’ve pressed them. I think we pressed them a little bit more and there were times in the first half when we played pretty well, but we also know that wasn’t an acceptable performance. The thing we can’t lose sight of, which we talked about today too, is part of what made us a good team last year was our courage, our willingness to fight and battle and win at all costs every time we stepped on the field, and that’s something we can’t lose.

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