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February 5, 2012 at 1:27 AM

Ochoa rejoins team, Zakuani impresses

zakuani arizona.jpgPhoto credit: Seattle Sounders FC

The Sounders will take Super Bowl Sunday off, but I wanted to share a few notes from the past two days. Our friend Jose Romero was at training Saturday, so be sure to check out his report, as well. Here are some highlights from the team reports:

— Forward Sammy Ochoa rejoined the team late Thursday night and participated in the past couple days of training. He had stayed behind in Seattle to be with his wife for the birth of their second child, Thiago.

— Midfielder Steve Zakuani (above) showed some flashes of brilliance at the end of a scrimmage Saturday. Here’s how the team report described one play:

Perhaps the best highlight came in the final minute as Steve Zakuani, who played the full 40 minutes, flew down the left side with blazing speed. Zakuani then did a series of step-overs and cut to the middle before striking the ball at goal. His shot sailed just over the crossbar as time ran out.

Coach Sigi Schmid seemed impressed.

“The plan we had was for him to play 20 minutes and after 20 he asked if he could keep playing,” he said in a team-released quote sheet. “I think he ran out of gas at about the 30 minute mark, so the last 10 he sort of stood up front and was a forward who really didn’t chase back much. He had the opportunity at the end and we saw the old Zakuani step-over and push it inside and he just hit it over the top. With each day he gets a little more confidence. There’s still no timeline, but every day it gets a little better.”

Brad Evans‘ family, which lives in Phoenix, hosted a team dinner and other activities Saturday night. Be sure to check out his Twitter feed for highlights.

— Saturday’s session, highlighted by an 11v11 scrimmage, involved those fighting for roster spots, according to Schmid. The coach said the first-team guys focused more on conditioning and getting game fit. The plan is to keep that starting group together in preseason more than previous years and they’ll presumably feature in Monday’s training game against Vancouver.

Here are the lineups from Saturday’s intersquad scrimmage, which didn’t include the first-teamers:

Team 1: Bryan Meredith, Wes Feighner, Andrew Duran, Andy Rose, Leo Gonzalez, Roger Levesque, Servando Carrasco, Mike Seamon, Steve Zakuani, Babayele Sodade, David Estrada.

Team 2: Andrew Weber, Zach Scott, Tim Pontius, Harlinton Gutierres, Ever Alvarado, Andrew Vanzie, Cordell Cato, Amadou Sanyang, Alex Caskey, Jason Banton, Sammy Ochoa.

— MLS SuperDraft pick forward Babayele Sodade scored the lone goal Saturday, set up by supplemental draft pick Wes Feighner.

— A couple notes indicate that Feighner played at right back (he was a left back last year in college). David Estrada, who turned 24 on Saturday, was up at forward. The lineups appear to suggest some other versatility, notably rookie Andy Rose possibly at center back (he’s been mostly a center mid).

— The team will training Monday morning before its aforementioned training game at 3 p.m., which is open to the public at the Grande Sports World soccer complex in Casa Grande, Ariz.

— Here’s the latest video report:


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