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April 26, 2009 at 2:46 PM

Sounders FC practice, 4-26-09

Today’s news: Freddie Ljungberg has left the team to return to his native Sweden for his grandmother’s funeral. Ljungberg was very close to his grandmother, who passed away on April 16. He’s expected to be back with Sounders FC by Thursday’s practice.

I didn’t see the broadcast of yesterday’s match but I understand that Cliff McCrath, the longtime former Seattle Pacific coach, stepped in on commentary for Greg Vanney. So the game’s broadcast crew featured a pair of pinch-hitters, McCrath and Glenn Davis for Kevin Calabro. Vanney was attending to a personal matter.

Nathan Sturgis, who made his first Sounders FC start last night, was sick and not at today’s practice.

All the starters but GK Kasey Keller didn’t take part in team practice as part of regeneration. Keller was in goal with the reserves, who were tuning up for Tuesday’s U.S. Open Cup match against Real Salt Lake. Defender Jhon Kennedy Hurtado got his nose “bent out of shape,” as coach Sigi Schmid put it, and that Osvaldo Alonso and Tyrone Marshall (“beat up now more than most”) should be able to practice this week.

FWD Kevin Forrest wasn’t in for the scrimmage portion, but the rest of the reserves were.

Schmid said he’s old enough to remember competing in U.S. Open Cup play. He hopes the all-club tournament gets more attention and increases in value over a period of time and that it finds its niche in the MLS regular-season schedule.

Schmid said the team that Sounders FC will field Tuesday night could have a couple of starters, but will have players coming back from injury. So one can expect Peter Vagenas, Taylor Graham, Stephen King and Jarrod Smith to play, along with the healthy reserves Tyson Wahl, Patrick Ianni, Evan Brown, Roger Levesque and Chris Eylander. Sanna Nyassi and Sebastien Le Toux figure to be in that group, too, along with defender Zach Scott, who started every game until Sturgis replaced him Saturday.

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