Here are some notes from Sunday’s training session at Starfire:
— First, here’s a good look at the Kasey Keller-inspired tifos from Saturday night.
— We got a chance to catch up with midfielder Mauro Rosales. His successful return after four weeks of rehabbing a sprained knee will be the focus on my story tomorrow.
“I feel some pain, but I don’t know why,” he said. “Maybe it was because I have to warm it up a little bit more. Coming off the bench is difficult to do, but it’s OK. It’s getting better. Every week I feel the difference in my knee and I hope Saturday (at Chivas USA) I can play more minutes.”
Rosales is hopeful he’ll be 90-minutes fit by the start of the playoffs in two weeks, but we saw Saturday that he doesn’t need that many to make a difference in the game.
— Sigi Schmid was asked why Bryan Meredith was Keller’s backup on Saturday and the coach said that Josh Ford has been dealing with a knee injury. The Sounders’ goalkeeper for Tuesday’s CONCACAF Champions League is yet to be determined, and even though Terry Boss is eligible and has been at training the last several days, he isn’t in consideration.
— A lot of attention, and rightfully so, went to Saturday’s amazing turnout of 64,140. It’s a figure believed to be the fourth-largest in the world over the weekend, behind only FC Barcelona, Real Madrid and Bayern Munich.
“That’s a great tribute to Seattle, the fans, the organization, the club, Keller, the whole thing,” said Schmid. “We hope all the people went home happy last night and excited, and realize what a tremendous sport soccer is and the entertainment value that it has. Hopefully we can make this something that happens all the time. That’s still the dream. We have to be realistic as we build that and the front office has done a great job with that. I wouldn’t mind having one or two of those a year.”
Added Rosales: “(The fans) made a huge atmosphere out there. It was perfect for everybody. They deserved the prize of three points and a win. … It was not just this game; every single game they are supporting us. It doesn’t matter what the final score is, they are always with us. We’re really appreciative of that. They have to keep it up because maybe they don’t know so much, but they help a lot and we need them on the field every game.”
— Schmid also had some good things to say about second-half substitutes Rosales and Ochoa.
Regarding Rosales: “He’s an important player for our team in terms of what he contributes on and off the field. I’m sure he’s happier when he’s reconnecting and he’s playing again. He has that ability to either beat you off the dribble or keep the ball. Our wide players, sometimes they either beat you or lose the ball. Mauro’s that guy where basically 75 percent of the time he’s either going to beat you or keep the ball. It makes us a much more effective team, and his crossing is just a notch above other people’s crossing.”
And on Ochoa: “Obviously he did well with the goal that he scored. It was a good run. The timing of the run was good; the timing of the pass was excellent. Obviously he finished it well. He got for the one header, as well. He and Montero almost pulled off a combination right at the edge of the 18. That’s the reason we brought Sammy here. He’s getting fitter and he had an impact on the game last night. He helped change the game for us.”