Here’s a report from the club on Saturday training:
Seattle Sounders FC wrapped up its second full week of preseason training with a soccer tennis tournament on Friday morning and an 11v11 scrimmage on Saturday afternoon.
The Sounders FC annual soccer tennis tournament provided the group with a competitive yet enjoyable activity to break-up the intensity of preseason training camp. The team split into 14 pairs with each duo playing seven matches. The tandem of Jhon Kennedy Hurtado and Zach Scott finished as the only perfect team at 7-0, and were joined by Mauro Rosales and Leo Gonzalez, who went 6-1, in the final. Hurtado and Scott went on to win and were crowned the 2013 champions. Scott became Seattle’s first repeat winner as he and Josh Gardner won the tournament in 2010. Tyson Wahl and Brad Evans won the inaugural tournament in 2009, Fredy Montero and Osvaldo Alonso won in 2011, and Marc Burch and Andrew Duran took home the championship last year.
The team returned to two-a-days on Saturday with a light morning session followed by a 40-minute scrimmage in the afternoon. The afternoon scrimmage featured two 20-minute halves and ended 1-1, though the teams mixed at halftime. Forward David Estrada got the orange team out to a quick lead with a goal in the 7th minute. Leo Gonzalez found Alex Caskey just outside the box, who flicked it to Estrada for the game’s first goal. Ten minutes later, Travis Bowen found Estrada on a breakaway but his low shot hit the post and went out across the endline.
After several personnel changes at halftime, the yellow team equalized on an own goal in the 27th minute. The orange team nearly regained the lead five minutes later when Lamar Neagle set-up Bowen in the box, but his shot missed wide and the scrimmage ended in a draw.
Several players played the full 40 minutes, highlighted by forwards Estrada and Babayele Sodade and midfielders Neagle and Alex Caskey. Marcus Hahnemann was the only goalkeeper to play both halves. Defender Dylan Remick played both left and right back, and Eriq Zavaleta played forward in the second half. A large group of mostly returning players did fitness work and running with fitness coach Dave Tenney during the scrimmage.
Sounders FC Owner and General Manager Adrian Hanauer joined the group on Saturday to watch the afternoon session, and Supplemental Draft pick Will Bates joined the team on Friday but has been limited to light fitness work as he recovers from arthroscopy surgery on his knee.
The team will train on Sunday and Monday morning before heading to Tucson, Ariz., on Tuesday for the first training game of the preseason against the Portland Timbers.
Quotes from Head Coach Sigi Schmid
(On the 11v11 scrimmage…) “Obviously we are still in preseason mode. We worked this morning so we didn’t want to put guys into a chance where they would injure themselves and we wanted to make some decisions, or further our decision making on a lot of the young players. It was good. We were able to put them in some positions that we haven’t seen them yet, like [Eriq] Zavaleta played up front a little bit today. I wanted to see [Lebogang] Moloto play a little bit deeper in midfield, so that was good. Overall from that standpoint it was good to see players. We have got Shavar Thomas [Invitee] here now, so we wanted to see him played for us a little bit at centerback, as well. We got to see Mason Trafford inside and outside. So it was good because we saw a lot of things.”
(On David Estrada…) “David is David. He is going to give you a lot of effort. He is going to run a lot and he’s going to sometime chase down lost causes, sometimes you want to pull your hair out a little bit because he is so energetic he is trying to make something happen where maybe [he should be] a little simpler. I thought today he was good. We played him on the outside mainly in the second half because we wanted to see some players inside. We wanted to see how [Travis] Bowen would do inside, as well. So it wasn’t a situation of us trying to look at David outside as it was us trying to look at Bowen inside. I thought David had a good game.”
(On Babayele Sodade…) “He has made good strides. At the end of last in October and November it was difficult for Baba at times because he was trying to get fit, his touch was off, et cetera. He is much fitter now. His touch is much better. He is fitting into the game. He’s not the most active of forwards you are going to see up there but he is a big body and he can hold the ball up there and create some things. He had that shot early on [Michael] Gspurning that really tested Michael going to his left and he is always dangerous to get on the end of headers.”
(On the upcoming training game against the Portland Timbers…) “Obviously we held a lot of guys like Mauro [Rosales] and [Steve] Zakuani out, so what we want to see is them now get back into the groove. We have done a lot of fitness with them. So for them tomorrow to touch the ball around a little bit and same thing on Monday and to come in and see how they play on Tuesday. Give everybody an opportunity to play on Tuesday. Get to measure them against another MLS team. And allow us to make some final decisions. There’s going to be some difficult decisions for sure in camp.”
Lamar Neagle will wear No. 14…The temperature reached the mid-70s today in Casa Grande, Ariz…Coach Sigi Schmid is giving the team Sunday afternoon off to watch the Super Bowl.