The Sounders have concluded today’s training at Brown University in Providence, R.I., and afterward we got a few minutes by conference call with coach Sigi Schmid. Some highlights:
* Mauro Rosales is in New England but playing on Saturday might be too soon. Goal is for him to play in U.S. Open Cup final Tuesday.
* The Sounders can avoid wildcard slot depending on results of this weekend. Schmid wonders how much of a reward that really is, given this season’s playoff format and continuing Western Conference dominance.
* Roger Levesque missed the Comunicaciones game with hamstring issue, but is training now and should be ready for Saturday.
A few highlights in Sigi’s own words:
On how the team’s feeling…) “Team’s feeling fine. We traveled up here yesterday. It was just a travel day; we didn’t practice or anything. I think the guys got into the pool a little bit, recovered a little bit. We just got done with practice today and it was a two-tiered practice. One group was the guys who didn’t play much. The other group was the guys who played a lot in Guatemala. But the team feels good physically; the team feels good emotionally.”
On how Rosales is doing…) “He’s with us here. Today is the first day that (fitness coach) Dave Tenney’s been able to work with him. (Saturday) could be too soon. Our real goal with him is to have him ready for the game Tuesday.”
On other injuries…) “Roger’s had a hamstring (injury), but he’s been training full out the last few days. We didn’t play him in Guatemala because we wanted to make sure that he would be ready for this weekend. Riley trained with us today, so he’ll continue to be evaluated. Hopefully we’ll have a decision in the next day or two with him. Noonan is also working through a muscular injury.”
On what he needs to see from the team to have them ready for the playoffs…) “I think we need to maintain what we’re doing. I think we’ve shown good character; we’ve played well as a group, as a team. We’ve battled for each other. You always like to give up a few less goals. I think that’s something you’re always trying to achieve, especially as you get into the playoffs and the games seem to get a little bit tighter and the players become more attentive to defensive marking and details, and maybe physical play picks up a notch. But we want to continue what we’re doing right now. We’ve had some good success scoring goals. We want to continue to create opportunities, get our chances and just cut down on the goals we give away. We gave away a couple soft goals I thought against Comunicaciones and we need to make sure we don’t do that.”
On traveling a lot guys out to the East coast…) “The intent behind it was just to give the players who are coming back from injuries better opportunities to incorporate themselves into training. Sometimes a guy’s at a stage where he can do part of training, but maybe not all of it. If he’s back in Seattle and the whole team’s gone, he really can’t take part in any part of training per se, it’s a lot of individual work. We felt that some players were at a stage where they could benefit from being part of the group setting. We felt that’s what we wanted to do and when we looked at the numbers, there were only one or two guys that were going to end up being left behind, so we said let’s just have the whole group here.”