Sounders FC concluded the Arizona portion of its preseason training Thursday with a 3-2 win over the Vancouver Whitecaps of USSF Division 2.
Sanna Nyassi scored twice, including the winner in the 88th minute, as Seattle rallied from a 2-0 first-half deficit. Lamar Neagle of Federal Way scored the other goal.
“I thought we made a couple of defensive mistakes in the first half that gave them goals,” coach Sigi Schmid said through a Sounders press release. “I thought we were unlucky at the other end of the field a couple of times – (top draft pick David) Estrada and so forth trying to get in and bad final passes. We tried to give the trialists a really good look as well. But then I think in the second half we showed a lot of character. … Sanna’s speed made a difference. A good finish on the corner kick, good service by (Josh) Gardner, good header by Neagle. It always feels good to win games, even if they’re training games.”
Defender Taylor Graham left the game with a tight hamstring and was replaced by Tyrone Marshall, a starter last season. Schmid said Graham’s injury does not appear to be serious.
After the game, the Sounders flew back to the Puget Sound area for a few days off before beginning their next phase of training Monday in La Manga, Spain.
“(Training in Arizona) was good,” Schmid said. “Any time you win games, it always helps the team and helps the spirit of the squad. We got a lot of good fitness work in. The guys are looking forward to three days off and getting away from each other for a little bit, and we go into the game phase now in La Manga. But I think we accomplished what we wanted to accomplish here. We were able to see some trialists as well. We were able to get them into good game situations. And I think we can make some decisions for guys who’ve had the opportunity to show.”
That trip to Spain is apparently on, as Major League Soccer and the players association reportedly have agreed to a second extension of negotiations on a new collective bargaining agreement. The second deadline was scheduled to expire tonight, however both sides are saying that East Coast snow storms this week prevented scheduled negotiation meetings.
The Sounders and Whitecaps are scheduled to meet again at 4 p.m. March 6 at Swangard Stadium in the Vancouver suburb of Burnaby, B.C.
Don Ruiz, 253-597-8808