Sounders FC

Jockeying for positions heats up as Sounders' season nears

tukwila – Less than a month before Seattle Sounders FC opens its new Major League Soccer season March 15 against the Los Angeles Galaxy, coach Sigi Schmid said only about half the spots on the eventual 30-man roster have been won.

“I would tell you maybe 15 guys are locks, 14 or 15,” Schmid said Wednesday. “The rest is all open as far as I’m concerned because people push people up into different earnings categories and you’ve got to try and put your best team together.

“Some of it depends upon positional needs. So if you have a good young player, but he plays a certain position it might knock off a veteran player who plays in that same position because you save a little bit of money, so that helps you out on the cap side of things.”

Schmid mentioned veterans such as Pat Noonan and Taylor Graham among the familiar faces who are fighting to remain on the roster.

However, one newcomer who seems to have already claimed his place is forward O’Brian White, formerly of Toronto FC.

“He’s done well, and you try to bring attention to people that have done well,” Schmid said. “His attitude has been good. He has worked hard. We still feel he is getting fit. As he moves forward in that process, I think that his play will come along. Everybody goes through a process where they are playing well, they drop off a little bit, then hopefully they play well again at the end.”

The club opened the first of two days of training at Starfire Sports Complex on Wednesday.

Following today’s session, the Sounders will fly out Friday for Bradenton, Fla., where they will begin another session of training and games on Saturday.

“We’ve got some guys that we wanted to continue to give a look to,” Schmid said. “There are some tough battles going on in terms of positions. One day a guy steps up, a guy steps back, the next day a guy steps up. We went through the exercise if we had to pick our team now we would be able to pick it and then we just decided, ‘Hey, it’s good to give these guys just one more look.’ ”

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

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