Sounders FC

Schmid not above repositioning veterans to energize club

Thirty-five players hopeful of making the 2011 Sounders FC roster are working out in unusually chilly Casa Grande, Ariz., this week.

However, not all of them are expected to still be wearing the rave green when the club departs next week.

“What we are trying to do is let people go when we are pretty convinced that, ‘No, I don’t think he’s really going to help us,’ Schmid said. “If somebody still has, ‘Maybe he might, we don’t know,’ we will probably take him to Florida with us and give him that final option because coming back from Florida is when we need to be cut down.

“So at this stage, yes, we will cut some people at the end of this trip before we go to Florida, but I couldn’t tell you whether it will be one or six.”

While the Sounders are trying to figure out which new players can help, they’re also tinkering with the places where some returning veterans might have a better chance of contributing.

Tyson Wahl, for example, is playing more middle back than left. One reason is to accommodate Danny Earls, acquired in an offseason trade with Colorado.

The club is also doing similar inside-outside experimenting with defender Zach Scott. And, more dramatically, coaches have taken a look at forward Roger Levesque at right back.

“He’s played different places, and we wanted to look,” Schmid said. “It wasn’t an easy 20 minutes for him, since he got matched up with Steve Zakuani. But it was good because we learned a lot from seeing that.”

Schmid said most rookies and other new personnel are being looked at for depth. Asked about newcomers who might challenge for starting jobs, he cited forward O’Brian White and midfielders Erik Friberg and Mike Fucito.

The club will train again today and then scrimmage Friday against the Vancouver Whitecaps.

ADDED TIME

The club trained Wednesday in a light freeze that felt like 22 because of wind chill. ... Schmid said the team will be off Sunday, and therefore free to watch the Super Bowl. ... Tickets sold out within hours for the Sounders “Cascadia Summit” preseason friendlies against Portland on March 4 and Vancouver on March 6 at Starfire Sports Complex in Tukwila. ... Tickets remain for the Sounders’ other home preseason match, the “Community Shield” charity game against the MLS Cup champion Colorado Rapids on March 9 at Qwest Field. ... The club’s other preseason games are away: Feb. 8 vs. Real Salt Lake, Feb. 10 vs. Columbus and Feb. 12 vs. Chivas USA, all in Arizona; and Feb. 21 vs. FC Dallas, Feb. 22 vs. Houston and Feb. 26 vs. Chicago, all in Florida. ... Individual-game tickets for the regular season are expected to go on sale around March 1.

Don Ruiz, 253-597-8808 don.ruiz@thenewstribune.com twitter/donruiztnt blog.thenewstribune.com/soccer

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