Here are some notes from Thursday’s practice…
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— First off, some injury updates. Coach Sigi Schmid said Alvaro Fernandez is feeling “pretty good” after sustaining a mild concussion in Tuesday’s U.S. Open Cup final. The DP midfielder admitted as much on Twitter and said he’s hopeful for Saturday’s game (if my limited understanding of Spanish hasn’t failed me). Flaco will undergo the regular tests and procedures before he’s cleared.
— Midfielder Mauro Rosales continues to improve from the MCL sprain, but Schmid hinted he might rest the Argentine this weekend.
“It’s a little bit about how he feels and it’s also a little bit about my decision, as well,” the coach said.
Since Rosales wasn’t ready for Tuesday’s big game, there’s a little less of a rush to get him back. Even if he isn’t ready or rested Saturday, Schmid said he’ll “for sure play the last two games of the regular season.”
— When asked about having to avoid a letdown after winning a third-straight Open Cup, Schmid said it’s difficult.
“It’s going to be a little bit of a challenge — an emotional challenge for them, as well,” the coach said. “I think they’ve got to be proud and I felt they needed to enjoy what they accomplished on Tuesday night. Ten years, 20 years from now people are going to be looking back and say, ‘That’s a phenomenal accomplishment,’ no matter what Daniel Hernandez thinks.”
Obviously that last past was a snarky reference to the FC Dallas midfielder’s similarly snarky tweet yesterday. I think Hernandez’ tweet was clever and based on some legitimate arguments, but things got a little out of control on Twitter in the aftermath, which kind of spoiled what could’ve been a fun back-and-forth. Hernandez obviously isn’t a fan favorite after cutting open Mike Fucito‘s face in an Open Cup semifinal, so perhaps it was inevitable.
— I got a chance to catch up with David Estrada after the second-year midfielder has been seeing quite a bit of action recently. I’ll have the highlights from that conversation in a later post.
— Birthday boy Alan Hinton was on hand and received congratulations from everyone — 69 years young! It’s always great to see him at practice.
— An astute reporter noticed that Seattle actually plays two games before the Los Angeles Galaxy takes the field on Oct. 16. Presumably that means the Sounders could pull to within one point in the Supporters’ Shield race before L.A. can kick a ball. Schmid said that would allow the Sounders to put some pressure on. He also pointed out that the Galaxy’s game against Houston and Chivas USA aren’t gimmes.
— I asked Jhon Kennedy Hurtado if he knows Nelson Rivas, Montreal’s first signing for its MLS team. Rivas is a physical Colombian defender who also played at Deportivo Cali. Hurtado said he does, but I’m not sure from which team.
“We had a chance to play together a long time ago and we have a great relationship,” said Hurtado through a translator. “He’s a great guy and I’m happy that he’s here to play against him.”
— I also asked Schmid if anyone still smelled like alcohol after what I’m sure was a night of celebration Tuesday. He joked that he’s not as good as telling anymore and had this great anecdote:
“True story. When I was (with) the university national team, I was the assistant coach and we were training. I won’t name the player, but the head coach wanted me to go out there (and play) because we were short. I had to play center back and mark up on the one forward. I thought after about five minutes I was intoxicated. That was not a good sign for the player. We found out he cleared out the mini-bar at the hotel and got his neighbor’s mini-bar and his teammates’. He didn’t last long with the national team.”
— Think Schmid is confident in his league-leading offense? Here was some of the pregame message before Tuesday’s game:
“Let’s make sure we play at the zero,” he told his team. “We know that we’re going to get a goal. It might be minute one, ten, eighty, ninety, ninety-three, doesn’t matter. We know were going to get a goal.”
— Lastly, Schmid offered some thoughts on forward Nate Jaqua, who is struggling to find the net but has six assists this season in all competitions (ranked third on the team).
“He’s missed some opportunities for us and I know he’d like to have some of those chances back, but he needs to continue to do what he’s doing. He’s definitely battling for us. He’s causing the opponent’s defenders not to clear balls that maybe they would clear normally or keeping balls alive on the offensive end of the field. … Those are a lot of the little things that sometimes fans don’t always appreciate or see. Or sometimes it’s a situation where, ‘That looked pretty awkward or clumsy,’ but on the other hand, the result of the play is something that allowed us to keep possession. As long as he’s helping us do that then he’s helping us.”