This training report just arrived from the club:
Seattle Sounders FC held its final two training sessions at Grande Sports World on Sunday and Monday mornings. The team will travel to Tucson, Ariz., on Tuesday morning for the first training game of the preseason against the Portland Timbers.
Before taking Sunday afternoon off for the Super Bowl, Sounders FC held an intense morning session. The team split into two groups for a 7v8 scrimmage and crossing and finishing drills. The 7v8 scrimmage emphasized both sides of the ball as the attacking team tried to score and the defensive team attempted to recover the ball and maintain possession to midfield. Perhaps the top highlight of the training camp so far came on the final shot of the session as goalkeeper Marcus Hahnemann struck an overhead bicycle kick from 15-yards out, clipping the underside of the crossbar for a goal. The final training session at Grande Sports World on Monday morning featured an 11v11 possession game followed by a series of 7v7 games on a short field. Head Coach Sigi Schmid ended the session with an 11v11 walk-through to prepare for tomorrow’s training game.
A pair of defenders joined Sounders FC training over the weekend. MLS veteran Shavar Thomas has been in full training the past two days. Djimi Traore, a 32-year-old center back who won the UEFA Champions League with Liverpool in 2005 and most recently played for Marseille of France, has also been in full training with the team. Tuesday’s match against the Portland Timbers will feature two 45-minute periods followed by one 30-minute period. The game will be played at Kino Sports Complex in Tucson, Ariz., and will be streamed live on MLSsoccer.com and SoundersFC.com beginning at 9:30 a.m. PT.
Sounders FC will return to Seattle following the match and will take Wednesday and Thursday off before returning to training at Starfire on Friday. Sounders FC Training Camp Participants Goalkeepers: Josh Ford, Michael Gspurning, Marcus Hahnemann, Doug Herrick-Defenders: Marc Burch, Andrew Duran, Leo Gonzalez, Jhon Kennedy Hurtado, Patrick Ianni#, Adam Johansson*, Dylan Remick+, Zach Scott, Shavar Thomas-, Mason Trafford-, Djimi Traore-, DeAndre Yedlin, Eriq Zavaleta+Midfielders: Osvaldo Alonso, Servando Carrasco, Alex Caskey, Guy Essame-, David Estrada, Brad Evans*, Ashani Fairclough-, Phillip Lund-, Mario Martinez*, Lamar Neagle, Kevin Olali+, Mauro Rosales, Andy Rose, Christian Tiffert, Steve Zakuani. Forwards: Travis Bowen-, Eddie Johnson*, Lebogang Moloto+, Sammy Ochoa, Jennings Rex+, Babayele Sodade. *Away with National Team#Stayed in Seattle to Rehab Injury+2013 SuperDraft or Supplemental Draft Pick-Invitees
Quotes from Head Coach Sigi Schmid (On what he was able to get out of the 11v11 Saturday…) “It was more just about evaluating players and seeing players. We have a good idea of the guys on our team obviously going into the game Tuesday we’re missing some important pieces to the team. There are four guys gone with National teams, [Osvaldo] Alonso isn’t going to be in there as well so that’s 50-percent of your starting lineup that isn’t going to be out there. [Patrick] Ianni is injured as well so maybe that’s’ 60-percent of your starting lineup all of sudden. So it’s a matter of looking at other people, some other people are going to get good opportunities. It’s important not to go crazy about Tuesday’s results because Tuesday is going to be about looking at other people.” (On he expects to see out of the team on Tuesday…) “I expect to see where guys are fitness-wise. I expect to see everybody play a solid 45 minutes because it’s the end of our fitness week. So we get to see how they’re doing that way then they get a couple of days off, and then we start training again on Friday there should be a sharpness back into their step, maybe that sharpness comes Saturday. It usually takes one training to get that out of you. And to be able to make decisions on certain roster spots, to be able to look at some of the trialists who are in here, especially the foreign guys like a Phillip Lund and a Djimi Traore and a Shavar Thomas to give us an indication to where they are at. Those are the most important things the result is secondary.” (On what are some of the surprising results he’s seen out of the older guys…) “I think with all of the returning guys the fitness level has been good. Steve Zakuani, this is his first preseason in a while, two years, so for him to be able to get through it is an important thing. I think he is physically stronger than he has been in the past. These fields have been a little bit harder to play on than we would have liked them to be, they’re difficult to play soccer sometimes because the ball is pretty bouncy so everyone’s touch looks off a little bit, but right now the main thing has been about the work part and I think Zakuani’s work has been pretty good…Leo [Gonzalez], Mark Burch, [Jhon] Kennedy [Hurtado], [Mauro] Rosales, they’re all fitness wise in the best place that they have been this early in the season.”
(On how much does it benefit to play a team that isn’t the Sounders…) “It’s always good. It always motivates you a little bit. It’s good to kick somebody different than kicking yourselves. You get tired of playing each other so it’s a good culmination to the week. The guys will be a little antsy to get home, I’m sure that’s always the case, so again I think a lot of guys know that this is a big opportunity for them so they have to take full advantage of it, and a lot of guys know it’s a chance for them to work on their sharpness, their game and their fitness.”
(On Eddie Johnson and Brad Evans being with the US national team …) “I think it’s great. Obviously it’s great for the Seattle club to have two players on the roster for a World Cup qualifier. I don’t think that’s happened before so that’s a unique step. It shows that in the case of Brad, we’ve helped Brad grow continue to grow and develop as a player, and we’ve certainly helped Eddie get back into the fold. But it’s a tribute to them, it’s their work. It’s Eddies work that he’s done, it’s the work that Brad has done that has put them in that position, but it’s good, and I’m sure everyone is looking forward to that game.” Throw-insTuesday’s match will be played ta Kino Sports Complex, North Field #5. Tickets are general admission and available at FCTucson.ticketsocket.com.