What a beautiful day at Starfire this afternoon, where the Sounders returned to training after a day off. I jokingly asked defender Adam Johansson if this weather has helped him fall in love with Seattle. “Yeah, definitely,” he said with a smile. “Definitely.”
Here are some notes from the day:
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— First off, an injury update. Coach Sigi Schmid indicated that goalkeeper Michael Gspurning (hip), midfielder Brad Evans (calf) and defender Patrick Ianni (back) probably won’t be ready in time for Saturday’s road game in Vancouver. Gspurning spent most of the day on an exercise bike to the side. Evans was active in warmups and did the most of the three. Ianni joined practice midway through, presumably after working inside, but wasn’t too active.
— Schmid said the team benefited from the day off Sunday (the starters got a light day Monday, too), but that they will work on being better in the final third in training Tuesday and Thursday. Wednesday is another scheduled off day.
— Johansson learned Monday that he wasn’t selected to Sweden’s squad for this summer’s UEFA Euro 2012 in Poland and the Ukraine. Asked if he felt the hamstring injury played a part in that decision, a now healthy Johansson said it’s hard to say: “I think the guys (national coach Erik Hamren) took out for the last game, that was almost like the team that he was going to play. I wasn’t in that team, so then I kind of figured that it’s going to take a lot to get into the team. But we’ll see what happens. Anything can happen. If there’s an injury I might be there, but as it looks now, I’m not going to go to the Euros.”
— Midfielder Cordell Cato, 19, became the youngest player in team history to record a point last Wednesday when he assisted Fredy Montero‘s first goal at FC Dallas. Asked if he was surprised to be contributing so soon, Cato said not at all. “I believe I’ve worked hard and I’m on the field because I’ve shown what I’m capable of doing,” he said. “That’s why I was rewarded with the early playing time.” Schmid said niggling injuries throughout the season kept Cato from having an impact earlier in the season.
— Schmid was asked about the contributions of a lot of young players, particularly in the past few games: “I know they’re not classified as rookies necessarily in our league, but when you really look at (Bryan) Meredith, Cordell, (Andy) Rose, and (Alex) Caskey — these are their first games. You start adding up the total number of games that Salt Lake had on the field and compare that to the total number of MLS games that we had on the field, it would be a huge difference. They were a team that was very veteran in their performance. Andy’s learning an awful lot, Caskey’s learning an awful lot, so is Cato, and so is Meredith. That will only serve us well in the future.”
— So is he surprised to see them do so well? “No, I’m not surprised because we think they’re good players. We wanted to bring Caskey back, we (traded) to get Andy Rose, and we felt that they had some potential. They’ve played well in the reserve games that they’ve played, they’ve trained well, they’ve trained pretty consistently, and that’s the reason that they’ve gotten those opportunities.”
— Rose, who has started the last three games, gave some insight into his parents’ support from afar: “They’re some of my biggest fans, even in England. They’re up at three in the morning listening to games on the radio. … They’ve been my biggest fans since I was a little kid. They’ve always supported me.”
— So is Johansson ready for a local derby? Sounds like it. “You want to win those games. They’re really important,” he said. “Since we lost (against Real Salt Lake), it’s even more important for us to win this one. We need a win.”
— The Swede was also asked about his teammate on the right side, Mauro Rosales: “He’s one of the better guys I’ve played with, definitely.”
— Here are some extra pictures:
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Gspurning, Babayele Sodade and Ianni take a stroll with head trainer Randy Noteboom.
The starters from Saturday had a light day of regeneration training.
Jhon Kennedy Hurtado grabbed the camera at one point. Not sure if anything came from it.