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Countdown to Ljungberg arrival begins

Post by Don Ruiz / The News Tribune on Aug. 26, 2010 at 2:33 pm with No Comments »
August 26, 2010 3:02 pm

With a pair of CONCACAF Champions League games behind them, the Sounders began training today at Starfire for their return to MLS competition Saturday when playoff-rival Chicago visits.

Visiting with them, of course, will be original Sounders DP Freddie Ljungberg, so a lot of media questions today were variations on that theme.

I’ll have some of the answers from general manager Adrian Hanauer later, but for now, here are three takes from coach Sigi Schmid:

On Ljungberg’s return to Seattle: “It’s emotional, for sure, because he was a member of this team and he was a very important member of this team and helped us get off to a tremendous start. But, at the end of the day, he is not on our team right now and he is with Chicago. We need to worry about our team and about winning the game and he is going to be worried about winning the game for his side.”

On apparent team improvement without Ljungberg: “We stepped into a good run right after he left. But, can you say that’s because he left? I don’t think so. I think we might of hit a good run as well. We played some good games early on in the season where we just didn’t finish. But we played some good soccer and did some good things. Sometimes things for whatever reasons, just like a marriage, sometimes things don’t entirely work out the way you want them. On the same token, it doesn’t mean one side is wrong or right or that there is a benefit for this side or for that side. I think it’s just one of those things that happened. Right now, like I said, our focus is on our team.”

On current DPs Blaise Nkufo and Alvaro Fernandez: “Obviously Blaise is still looking for his first goal. I know he would like to get that one behind him. But he has helped us with our hold-up play up front and getting people involved in the offensive play. I think Fernandez came in and scored some big goals early on, coming on as a sub. I think right now he is still finding his fitness, finding his legs. I thought his game the other night against Monterrey was much better than his game down in Marathón. I think he is finding his connection to the team much better right now.”

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