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February 10, 2011 at 6:33 PM

Sounders FC notes from Thursday’s training game defeat

friberg.jpgPhoto credit: Seattle Sounders FC

Here are some highlights from the team report:

— Sounders FC lost 3-0 to Columbus in a training game in Phoenix, Seattle’s first loss of preseason. Andres Mendoza and Jeff Cunningham scored for the Crew, which also got an own goal.

— Seattle played a first-team unit in the first 45 minutes and it was an underwhelming effort according to coach Sigi Schmid. Though he called defender Jhon Kennedy Hurtado “probably our best player”.

— Schmid said the combination of Mike Fucito and David Estrada up front might have been the best forward combination. Lamar Neagle also got some minutes as a wide player.

Taylor Graham, Blaise Nkufo and Pat Noonan all sat out. The team will train Friday and play Chivas USA in a training game Saturday.

Erik Friberg (above) celebrated his 25th birthday on Thursday.

— Be sure to check out Schmid’s thoughts on the schedule after the jump via team-provided quotes.

* * *

(On the training game…) “Every time you play you see something different, you learn some more about yourself. Results aren’t as important in preseason. You always want to get a result if you can but teams are at different stages. When you look at the results so far we beat Vancouver, Vancouver beats Columbus, Columbus beats us. It all gets rigamaroled around. But for us we were able obviously to get some guys on the park and to get a couple of guys in different positions. We wanted to see [Lamar] Neagle wide. We wanted to see how different combinations looked together, how [O’Brian] White and [Fredy] Montero looked up front. We wanted to see how [Mike] Fucito and Montero looked. Fucito and [David] Estrada was probably our most dangerous combination up front. Some guys got some plus points, some guys got some minus points today and as a team it gives us a better picture of what we’ve got to continue to work on, get a little quicker with the ball and our movement off the ball has to be better.”

(On going forward…) “We are still in preseason so what I need to see from the team is obviously I have got to see some fighting power when they come back on Saturday, that little bit of desire, that, ‘Hey, the result didn’t go the way we wanted it to go,’ so I need to see that from them. But we are continuing to build fitness as well so we are going to continue to do that also.”

(On the first unit giving him what he’s looking for…) “No, no to be very honest. I think that if you ask them, if you asked the guys who played in the first unit they would say they weren’t happy with their play. I think we gave up a soft goal. A goal where you would have to let the guy run offside or we got to do better in terms of making the save. I also thought we didn’t create enough chances up front, so I thought we were a little bit stagnant in that first group. It was good to see [Jhon Kennedy Hurtado] play because I thought he was probably our best player, so he did well. I think if you ask those guys they would be the first, I would be disappointed if they didn’t admit that they didn’t play well.”

(On the final period…) “The last 30 [minutes] we put some guys in who are a little more inexperienced in the back and Jeff Cunningham is a veteran player so he can take advantage of that. The game I thought in the second 45 [minutes] I thought we had more of the game. We had more chances. We were close a couple times but didn’t get a goal, and even the first 10, 15 minutes of the last period I thought we were OK. The last 10, 15 minutes of the last period we didn’t play well and they capitalized and scored goals.”

(On the MLS schedule…) “The schedule is what it is. We have got to play the games when they tell us to play the games. We have got one tough road trip in there with D.C. United and Columbus coming in the same week so that means you are on the road for about seven days in a row. The other thing you got as you look at the schedule is sometimes you wish you could have more night games at home but I understand with our schedule coming out as late as it does we end up having second choice on some of the home dates as to when we can play. Overall, I think the spacing of the schedule is good. I think the mix of home and away is good. And it’s going to be exciting to play Portland and Vancouver this year.”

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