Seattle Sounders FC intends to keep the night of July 20, 2011, right where it belongs – in the past.
The club returned to training Saturday at Starfire Sports Complex in Tukwila with its focus aimed ahead to the CONCACAF Champions League preliminary round match at San Francisco FC of Panama this week, and with little regard for their 7-0 mauling at the hands of Manchester United last Wednesday.
“I think we’re going to show our character when we go down to Panama on Tuesday and when we go into Houston (for an MLS match next Saturday),” coach Sigi Schmid said. “I think we’ll show what we’re made of. Looking at it again – it sounds stupid to say – but it’s like five bad minutes. Outside of that, we had some good opportunities.”
The Sounders fly to Panama today for the Tuesday opening match of a two-game, road-and-home, aggregate-score preliminary-round pairing. Then, they will fly directly to Houston to resume MLS play against the Dynamo.
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There, they will try to build on their nine-game unbeaten streak in league play and put any effects of the Man U loss behind them.
“I think we all understand who we played against,” goalkeeper Kasey Keller said. “When Wayne Rooney comes off your bench, that’s not a bad place to be. It’s frustrating because we know that we could have and should have put a better display for ourselves. But it didn’t happen, and I don’t think there’s going to be a whole lot of hangover.”
The Sounders will take 20 players to Panama and then take the same group to Houston. (Keller will detour to New York for the MLS All-Star Game on Wednesday.)
Schmid said Jhon Kennedy Hurtado (knee), Brad Evans (hamstring) and O’Brian White will not make either leg of the trip.
White played 14 minutes against Manchester United, his first game action since being diagnosed with blood clots in his leg after the April 22 game at Colorado.
“I definitely feel good: no pain, nothing, no restrictions,” White said Saturday. “It felt good to get out there. ... (I will increase my fitness) in steps, but now it’s just about playing games and keep moving forward. It’s all about game fitness.”
Don Ruiz, 253-597-8808 firstname.lastname@example.org twitter/donruiztnt blog.thenewstribune.com/soccer