Sounders Insider

Johansson and other new guys begin blending in

Here's some of what coach Sigi Schmid had to say in a conference call today on some general overview topics of the club's first days in Arizona:

Overview in third week of training) I’m pleased with where we’re at. I know from a fitness standpoint right now we’re making progress. In the days here I think some guys have really been engaged in training, they’ve worked very hard in training, so that’s good. We’ve been trying as well at times to really make sure that we keep the guys that we think are in consideration for that starting group against Santos playing together a little bit more than we would do normally this early in preseason just so they get their rhythm of play down basically a little quicker. Overall, I’m happy with where we’re at now.

Early impression of guys who joined club in Arizona) They got in last night, so with them today in the morning session we had them participate in the warmup and the passing drills that we do and a little bit of possession, but then we pulled them out. Obviously Johansson is an experienced player: He was solid in everything he did. The young Hondurans who came in did well. Also, Wes Feighner is a draft choice that we’ve had in, so he’s had two or three days to show. … We’ll be able to tell a lot more, say, come Friday.

On Johansson blending into defense) It’s playing those guys together as a unit in training. When we’re playing small-sided exercises … Parke plays a little more right of center, so maybe at times pairing him and Johansson even when we’re playing five-on-five games so they get used to each other. That’s one way. As this week goes on, we’ll start playing 11-a-sides, and it’s important for us to get that part down as well. Obviously, he’s a player who’s new to our team, so he’ll still need to prove himself, but his pedigree speaks for himself and so it’s not going to come as a surprise I think to our group if we stick him onto the first team defense early on. It’s just a matter of them getting time together in training.