Several of Seattle Sounders FC’s most familiar names from last season will be missing Saturday when the club opens training for its sixth Major League Soccer season.
Among those jettisoned over the 79 days since the 2013 season ended with a Western Conference semifinal loss to Portland were goalkeeper Michael Gspurning, forward Eddie Johnson, captain Mauro Rosales, longtime defenders Jhon Kennedy Hurtado and Patrick Ianni, and original No. 1 draft pick Steve Zakuani.
Those and others have been replaced by veterans such as goalkeeper Stefan Frei, defender Chad Marshall, forwards Kenny Cooper and Tristan Bowan, along with homegrown players Aaron Kovar and Sean Okoli and four new SuperDraft picks.
For all the changes, the Sounders also return core players from the team that finished 15-12-7 and fourth in the Western Conference last season. Among those are designated players Clint Dempsey, Obafemi Martins and Osvaldo Alonso, midfielders Brad Evans and Lamar Neagle, outside backs Leo Gonzalez and DeAndre Yedlin, and goalkeeper Marcus Hahnemann.
Not all will be on hand when training begins at Starfire Sport in Tukwila. Dempsey is almost a month into his two-month loan to Fulham of the English Premier
League, while Evans and Yedlin are away with the U.S. national team.
After two training sessions Saturday, the Sounders will be off Sunday and return to Starfire for work Monday and Tuesday before leaving Wednesday for 12 days of training in Arizona.
While away, they will play training friendlies Feb. 5 against San Jose, Feb. 6 against Vancouver, Feb. 8 against Portland and Feb. 9 against Vancouver again.
Then Seattle will return home for nine days of training before leaving for Charleston, S.C., to compete in the Carolina Challenge Cup.
The Sounders will kick off MLS’ 19th season March 8 at CenturyLink Field against defending MLS Cup champion Sporting Kansas City.
The club roster heading into the first day of camp:
Goalkeepers (3): Frei, Hahnemann, Ford
Defenders (9): Jalil Anibaba, Gonzalez, Damion Lowe, Marshall, Jimmy Ockford, Dylan Remick, Zach Scott, Djimi Traore, Yedlin.
Midfielders (10): Alonso, Alex Caskey, Dempsey, Evans, Shalrie Joseph, Aaron Kovar, Neagle, Fabio Pereira, Stefano Rijssel, Andy Rose.
Forwards (8): Chad Barrett, Will Bates, Bowen, Cooper, David Estrada, Martins, Sean Okoli, Eriq Zavaleta.
Evans and Yedlin were retained on the U.S. national team squad as coach Jurgen Klinsmann on Friday cut his squad from 26 to 22 players for the final part of January camp in Carson, Calif. Goalkeeper Tally Hall of Gig Harbor was among the players returned to their club teams. Camp concludes Feb. 1 with a friendly against the Korea Republic at StubHub Center in Carson. ... The PDL Kitsap Pumas will hold open tryouts Feb. 1-2 at Gordon Field at the Kitsap County Fairgrounds in Bremerton. Information is available at kitsapsoccerclub.com.Don Ruiz: 253-597-8808 firstname.lastname@example.org blog.thenewstribune.com/soccer @donruiztnt