Sounders FC will end the first portion of Arizona preseason training today with its first competition of the new year: a training game against the Portland Timbers.
That streaming will give Sounders fans a first look – and perhaps a last look – at some of the new faces in camp.
“It’s important not to go crazy about (this) result because (today) is going to be about looking at other people,” Sounders coach Sigi Schmid said. “ I expect to see where guys are fitness-wise and to be able to make decisions on certain roster spots. ... Those are the most important things. The result is secondary.”
The Sounders will be without several regulars because four players are away with their national teams, central defender Patrick Ianni is out with a foot injury, and Schmid said he intends to hold out midfielder Osvaldo Alonso because of illness.
“Obviously, going into the game (today) we’re missing some important people to the team,” Schmid said. “It’s a matter of looking at other people – some other people are going to get good opportunities. 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.”
After the game, the club will return to Puget Sound where the players will have a couple of days off before resuming training Friday.
Next week, the club returns to Tucson for another two weeks. That visit will include the Desert Diamond Cup, a four-game competition with three other MLS clubs: the New England Revolution, New York Red Bulls and Real Salt Lake.
The Sounders also hope to arrange a friendly against a Mexican club as part of their preparations for the CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinal series next month against Tigres of Monterrey.
Emphasis will shift from fitness and depth to getting the regulars ready for the MLS season, which begins March 2 when the Montreal Impact visits Seattle.
“The Tucson part of our preseason is really where we’re going to try and get that group that’ll play in the opening part of our season together, get that understanding down,” Schmid said.
Sounders forward Eddie Johnson and midfielder/defender Brad Evans were called in for the U.S. national team’s World Cup qualifying match Wednesday at Honduras.
“Obviously, it’s great for the Seattle club to have two players on the (U.S.) roster for a World Cup qualifier,” Schmid said. “I don’t think it’s happened before, so that’s a unique step. It shows 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 hard work.”
Meanwhile, Sounders midfielder Mario Martinez is on the Honduras roster and defender Adam Johansson will play for Sweden in a friendly with Argentina in Stockholm, also on Wednesday.
The four players are expected to rejoin the club after those matches.
Two veteran defenders have joined Sounders training: Shavar Thomas, who has played with seven MLS clubs, and Djimi Traoré, a 32-year-old center back who won the UEFA Champions League with Liverpool in 2005. Sounders single-game tickets went on sale Monday through SoundersFC.com, Ticketmaster and the CenturyLink Field box office. Seattle Reign FC announced the signings of four players: two-time Wales player of the year Jess Fishlock, Canadian international Tiffany Cameron, former University of Washington defender and Issaquah High grad Kate Deines and two-time Stanford All-American Lindsay Taylor. The W-League’s Sounders Women will hold open tryouts March 16-17 at Starfire Sports Complex in Tukwila. Details are available at www.SoundersWomen.com.Don Ruiz: 253-597-8808 firstname.lastname@example.org blog.thenewstribune.com/soccer @donruiztnt