Today in the morning training session, the Sounders got back on the conditioning trail. After 30 minutes of conditioning drills, the team split into groups of four for some small-field 4v4 games. On one field they played with goalkeepers in front of regular goals and on the other they used two small goals on either end of the field without keepers. The name of the game was high-speed, continuous play, so once a goal was scored or a ball was knocked out of play another ball quickly replaced it.
The Sounders welcomed a new face to training in Chinese midfielder Gao Leilei, an attacking midfielder who last played for the Finnish club FC KooTeePee, but played the majority of his career at Beijing Guoan FC. From 1999-2006, he played 121 games with Guoan, scoring 11 goals in that span. The 29-year-old midfielder has since played for the New Zealand Knights and Wellington Phoenix in New Zealand, Beijing Hongdeng in China and MyPa and FC KooTeePee in Finland.
The team played without several players who had been in camp. Terry Boss did work on the side, but did not participate in full training after spraining his ankle earlier in camp. Nate Jaqua returned to Seattle to treat his osteitis pubis and is not expected to rejoin the team for 2-3 weeks. Eddie Johnson returned to Austin after suffering back spasms and is expected to rejoin the team on trial when they return from Spain in March. Fredy Montero, Sanna Nyassi, Jhon Kennedy Hurtado and Osvaldo Alonso were also out of training while they were in San Francisco with a team administrator to finalize paperwork at the Spanish Consulate for the team’s trip to Spain.