Sounders Insider

Jaqua fine with Nkufo signing

However, Jaqua said today that he doesn't see it that way.

“We just signed another attacking force," he said. "It’s good to add another quality player. If it increases competition up front and people are fighting for spots, that’s good. You look at it, too, we’re going to have a lot of games this year with all the cups and whatnot. We need more attacking options, especially another person up front with some size: That’s good. The game we played in Vancouver, we don’t have much size up front – even anywhere in the midfield. It’s good to get another guy there. Hopefully he comes in, works hard and does well for us. The bottom line is whoever comes in, they’re still evaluating things every week. I feel like if I play well I’ll be in the 11, if it’s not as a forward it could be at midfield."

At the Thursday press conference, Nkufo was described as possessing many of the qualities that the team looked to Jaqua for last season: a forward with size and skills in the air who can hold the ball and get on the end of crosses. And Jaqua filled the role well enough last season to start 27 games, finish second on the club with nine goals, tied for second with seven assists and tied for the lead with 47 fouls committed.

And coach Sigi Schmid implied today that the extra busy 2010 schedule -- which will include the club’s CONCACAF Champions League debut, defense of its U.S. Open Cup title, and 30 regular season games squeezed into a World Cup-shortened season -- will put a priority on versatility and depth.

"There’s going to be enough playing time for everybody,” he said. “Who gets impacted at the end of the day? I really can’t tell you. We play Nate a little bit out wide, Nate plays up top. I think Blaise is pretty much an up-top guy; he’s not going to play out wide for us. But (Fredy) Montero can slide wide. Jaqua can slide wide. There are a number of different ways we can play it.”

For now, Jaqua's highest priority is just recovering physically from from pubic symphysis, a repetitive stress injury to ligaments of the pubic joint.

He said his recovery is “doing all right” and that he hopes to increase practice time and running and to be full-go within a week or two and to be in uniform for the March 25 opener.

“I probably won’t be 90-minutes fit,” he said. “But hopefully I can at least be an option on the bench.”

A few other thoughts from Jaqua:

On his willingness to move to accommodate Nkufo: “That’s fine. Wherever they need me, wherever I can help the team. I just want to get back and get healthy, get going and obviously get ready for the season and help my team win. I feel like when I’m playing well I should be in the 11. But we’ll see. It’s up to the coaches."

On whether the high-profile press conference for Nkufo indicates the job is already his: "I’m not going to read anything into it. You just have to go out there and do your job and see what happens."

On if he wants to be traded: "I like it here. I want to be here. I believe when I’m playing well I should be on the field, in whatever capacity."