The Sounders return to action this morning after three days off from formal training (though some guys have done work on their own following Monday’s reserve game in L.A.). They’ll practice today and tomorrow leading into a training game against the University of Washington on Saturday.
This is, of course, a bye week for Seattle. The team’s next MLS game is at Chicago on April 28.
Let’s get to some links:
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— Here’s a quick roundup of a busy soccer Wednesday: Chelsea withstood a ton of pressure to beat Barcelona, 1-0, in the first leg of a UEFA Champions League semifinal, Humberto Suazo scored twice to give Monterrey an early 2-0 series lead in the all-Mexican CONCACAF Champions League final against Santos Laguna, Sporting Kansas City improved to 7-0 on this MLS season with a 3-1 road win in Vancouver, and D.C. United simply cannot win two games in a row and settled for a 1-1 tie at home against expansion Montreal.
— About that UCL game, apparently there was a fan wearing a Barcelona-Sounders scarf shown on TV. Looks like it was this guy. Elsewhere regarding Barcelona, Mia Hamm wrote about the influential Leo Messi for Time Magazine.
— Also from Wednesday, fans in D.C. paid tribute to a supporter who died Tuesday.
— Our favorite Castrol Index ratings are out. The Sounders in the league’s top 40 players according to these mysterious calculations are David Estrada (11), Michael Gspurning (12), Zach Scott (21), Jeff Parke (33) and Osvaldo Alonso (36).
— Around the league, here’s a great profile on Whitecaps defender Young-Pyo Lee, it sounds like Brek Shea is a young designated player for FC Dallas, the league website takes a look at shot efficiency, and renowned broadcaster Gus Johnson is apparently calling games on the radio for the San Jose Earthquakes.
— Former Sounder Amadou Sanyang is off to a good start with Charleston and earned honorable mention in the USL Pro Team of the Week voting.
— Forbes has released its latest valuations of soccer franchises worldwide, and to no one’s surprise, Manchester United was on top again. Those same business guys chatted with MLS commissioner Don Garber in this video interview.
— SoundersFC.com has an update on the U-23s.
— In your Sounders Women’s news, Sydney Leroux got some love from espnW, Keelin Winters was called into U.S. national team camp this month, that means six ladies will be in consideration for a couple June games in Sweden, Stephanie Cox did a Q&A with ussoccer.com and here’s a lengthy ad featuring Megan Rapinoe: