Apologies for the late update. After returning in the early a.m. hours from a 9,000-mile road trip, the Sounders opted for an evening practice Sunday and it pushed me a bit behind. Here’s what was happening:
* * *
— Mauro Rosales (sprained right MCL) was active and looked determined to get back for Tuesday’s U.S. Open Cup final. Coach Sigi Schmid said the midfielder is improving and that the team hopes he’ll be available at least off the bench.
— Defender James Riley (concussion) was practicing and, as is typical, he was one of the last players off the training field. Schmid said they hope to get Riley fully cleared Monday.
— A couple guys that are out for the season, Steve Zakuani and Terry Boss, were each active and back in training. Always good to see.
— GM Adrian Hanauer discussed ticket sales for Tuesday’s game and opening up the Hawks’ Nest.
— The rain really started pouring at the end. Right when the Sounders were leaving the field, Chicago’s bus pulled up and the Fire players were walking out to the wet training ground. Welcome to the Pacific Northwest.
— Goalkeeper Kasey Keller dismissed the idea that his retirement could come after the CCL knockout rounds. More from the captain in the next few days.
— Midfielder Osvaldo Alonso talked about what will be his fourth consecutive U.S. Open Cup final. He cracked a little smile when recalling a 2008 semifinal victory against the USL Sounders with the Charleston Battery. Then it was back to business. “Now I’m wearing the Sounders jersey and I’m focused on Tuesday’s game,” Alonso said in ever-improving English.
— Schmid had nothing but good things to say about how the long road-trip was handled — e.g. charter flights, accommodations — and gave kudos to team administrative director Grant Clark.
— There was a bit of talk surrounding Roger Levesque at right back, an idea we first heard about in preseason but hadn’t really seen in a game until Saturday. Schmid said moves like that aren’t uncommon and used Chris Albright (now with New York) as an example. When asked if he thinks Levesque could finish his career as a defender, Schmid said it’s possible.
— That kind of roster manipulation over the weekend (including getting a full 90 from David Estrada) should provide for a rested, full-strength squad for Tuesday’s game. Should be a good one.