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April 20, 2012 at 2:54 PM

Sounders getting healthy, competition grows (Friday notes)

04202012 training.JPG

Without a game tomorrow, Sounders FC’s practice at Starfire was much more low-key than it is on a typical Friday. Here’s how coach Sigi Schmid described the training session:

“We wanted it to be a little more fun and a competitive situation where we played big goals/small goals. You have to win on the small field to get up to the big field. The guys’ spirit and activity was good.”

Here are some notes:

* * *

— First off, you have to see this picture.

— Midfielder Brad Evans was jogging off to the side at times and wasn’t a full participant. Turns out it wasn’t a birthday present (Evans turns 27 today) and wasn’t due to a specific injury. “We just noticed yesterday that he seemed little bit tight, so we just wanted to (take) a little bit of precaution with him today. It was more easing off of him,” Schmid said. “He’s just one of those guys that gets to a point and we’ve learned, just like with Ozzie, that, ‘OK, today we need to back off for a day.’ ”

Alvaro Fernandez was also working to the side and Schmid was encouraged by his progress.

— For the most part, the team is getting pretty healthy, which is having a positive effect in training. “It’s always good to have competition,” said Schmid. “When you have players competing for time on the field, it brings out better performances out of everyone. If you don’t have competition — whether you like to admit it or not — you become a little bit complacent and you sort of take your foot off the gas pedal a little bit. For us to have competition and for guys to know, ‘Hey, there are guys coming back into the scene, back into the picture, I’ve got to keep my game sharp and going,’ is a big plus.”

Mauro Rosales and Adam Johansson appeared to be in full training again and their involvement in Saturday’s training game against UW is going to be key for their availability next week in Chicago. Minutes tomorrow “will determine what we do,” said Schmid.

— Starting against the Fire, the Sounders have five games in 15 days. Rosales and Johansson won’t be able to play in all of those, Schmid said, so depth will continue to be important. The coach also indicated there could be some shuffling at center back in that span.

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