The Sounders returned to training today, after their 1-0 loss to Portland last night and with one preseason game ahead before the (maybe) season-opener March 25.
Some updates from coach Sigi Schmid:
On competition at midfield) “We are just trying to look at different combinations. Sometimes it’s not the best individuals that need to play but the best combination of two; the ones that can complement each other. Right now, everybody brings a little bit of something different. (Pete) Vagenas is probably the best passer in terms of finding those little passes. (Osvaldo) Alonso is our best defender. (Brad) Evans, when he plays in the middle of midfield, is the one who will get forward the most. (Nathan) Sturgis is the one who hits the best long ball. Vagenas is also the one who talks the most and sometimes you need that because it makes the player next to him better. It’s still something that we are going to continue to look at probably through next week and then make a decision as we go into the first game.”
On competition at right midfield) “Obviously there are options for us there. Roger )(Levesque] is healthy as well so Roger could pop up out there also. Sanna [Nyassi] we saw in the game in Vancouver so we wanted to see what (Kevin) Souter could do; if he’s somebody that we felt could help us. We have played (David) Estrada out there. He has had some moments out there as well. Again, it’s the same thing, everybody brings something different there. Roger [Levesque] gives you an honest two-way work rate. Sanna (Nyassi) has great speed but sometimes the decisions of passes that he makes are not the best. Estrada sometimes decides to hold it when he needs to part with it but then his running and his effort and his work is good. He needs to be a little bit stronger at times. Souter is a guy who is a pretty good soccer player. He is not really a wide guy so he comes off the line a little more and gives you a little bit more midfield play from there. It’s a matter of us looking at Philadelphia and what they are going to bring in the first game and what we think is going to help us be the best as a team.”
On competition among Sounders FC players) “There has to be competition. There has to be desire to be on the field. We didn’t make a lot of changes from last year. We have (Blaise) Nkufo coming but we have kept the nucleus of this squad together because we are happy with the nucleus. But what happens sometimes is players sometimes feel they did pretty well and subconsciously they relax a little bit. So competition is important to keep them from subconsciously relaxing. In our game last night I thought that our possession and play from 18 to 18 was great but that little bit of that last bit of bite, that last bit of ‘Hey, I want this desperately’ attitude that we had last year needs to come back out again this year and maybe competition will bring that out.”
On focus for preseason finale at Colorado next week) “To continue to move forward in terms of what we are able to do in the final third of the field. We did a good job of getting the ball to the final third. Now we need to do a good job at breaking down a team. Obviously we expect Colorado might have a little more of the game against us so there is going to be more opportunity for us to play to an open field which makes it easier to attack as well. But I think we just need to continue to work on our attack, work on our movement of the ball and make sure we don’t give up any silly goals. But the main emphasis has got to be on our attack and our movement of the ball.”