Seattle Sounders FC trained Tuesday without coach Sigi Schmid, who was undergoing partial left knee replacement surgery.
Schmid is expected back at practice Friday. In his absence, assistant coach Brian Schmetzer is presiding over team practices.
“They still worked hard,” Schmetzer said. “It’s a beautiful day. The field’s looking gorgeous: It’s in perfect condition. So if they’re not excited and they don’t want to train just because I’m here, then there’s something wrong with them.”
Schmid had been planning the surgery for a while. He scheduled it for this week because a break in the MLS schedule keeps the club inactive until July 3, when D.C. United visits CenturyLink Field.
Schmetzer has been Schmid’s first assistant since the 2009 expansion season. Before that, he coached the USL Sounders from 2002-08 and won league championships in 2005 and 2007.
He is a Seattle native, attended Nathan Hale High School, and played for the NASL Sounders, the indoor Tacoma Stars and the A-League Sounders before ending his playing career with the indoor Seattle SeaDogs in 1996.
“It’s an easy transition with Brian,” team sporting director Chris Henderson said. “He does some things different than Sig, but he’s won championships, he (participated) at the highest level as a player and a coach. I think it’s a great opportunity for Brian. ... I think he’d be a great head coach in this league one day. We really don’t miss a beat when he takes over.”
The Sounders will be off Wednesday, then return to training Thursday, hold an intrasquad game Friday, do some light regeneration work Saturday and take off Sunday before returning for two final practices in advance of United’s visit.
“It wasn’t an emergency surgery,” Schmetzer said. “But as (Schmid) and I get a little older, I’ve got a hip problem and he’s got a knee problem and between the two of us we might get a halfway usable body.”
Henderson said the club is nearing resolution on negotiations to hold on to midfielder Mario Martinez, whose current loan agreement with Real Espana of Honduras expires at the end of the month.
Henderson declined to characterize the state of those negations. However, he acknowledged the result could affect the Sounders’ ability to make a move when the summer transfer window opens July 9.
“We’d have to make some moves in order to do it,” he said. “So those are conversations that we have: whether it’s right for the team and right for us to try to make a push to try to improve the team in the window. (Teams value) key positions up the spine ... where impact players can come in. So those conversations are going on.”
Asked specifically about reports of club interest in La Liga central defender David Navarro, Henderson said: “David’s a good player. He’s a guy we watched several times play because he was teammates with (Obafemi Martins at Levante). He’s a move I don’t know if we’ll be able to make. I think he’s a player who would do well in MLS.”Don Ruiz: 253-597-8808 firstname.lastname@example.org blog.thenewstribune.com/soccer @donruiztn