Here are some notes from Tuesday’s practice, which featured some 11v11 scrimmage action with the Sounders FC U-23s:
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— The group split up into three teams: an ‘A’ team, a ‘B’ team and the U-23s with some intermittent Sounders. Osvaldo Alonso was with the B’s as he’ll serve the final game of his suspension on Saturday after his dangerous tackle in the Columbus game. Guys like Steve Zakuani, Josh Ford and Michael Tetteh played with the U-23s at times.
— Here’s coach Sigi Schmid on the action: “You want to make sure the first time you get bumped or first time you get thrown to the ground isn’t in the Montreal game. … It was the first time Josh has been able to jump into a game situation for us. Obviously he got scored against but it was a good goal. He did alright. He handled stuff well. Steve did alright. There was a little more defensive work for him because his team didn’t have the ball as much, so that was good, but he got into it a little bit with Zach Scott and with Jeff Parke, so that’s good for him, as well.”
— There was a scary moment when David Estrada, playing as a midfielder for the ‘B’ team, appeared to suffer a left foot injury. Seattle’s leading scorer in MLS was treated on the sideline and had to be helped onto a cart to be taken inside. He had an icepack on his middle of his left foot from what I could see. Schmid said they hoped it was nothing serious, but we should get a more thorough update Wednesday.
— Those inactive in the scrimmage from what I could tell were goalkeeper Michael Gspurning (hip), defenders Patrick Ianni (back) and Adam Johansson (hamstring), forward Babayele Sodade (knee), and midfielder Christian Sivebaek (concussion).
— Schmid had this update on Gspurning: “We’re easy with him on this week, but we’ll start to ramp him up again next week. It’s only when we start ramping him up that we’ll have an idea of when he’ll actually be back.”
— Defender Leo Gonzalez got a little bit of playing time as he works back from a quad injury. “I feel good,” he said through an interpreter. “Now I just have to keep working on regaining my physical stamina.” The Costa Rican left back is confident in the recovery of the defensive group, too: “We’re all getting better. We’re all sort of recouping. One at a time we’re getting better and that’s going to add strength to the back line.”
— Here was the U-23 perspective on the day.
— Afterward we learned a couple more Euro ’12 rooting interests: Eddie Johnson is taking England and Gonzalez has Spain.
— Lastly, here’s my story for the newspaper on assistant coach Brian Schmetzer, who revealed he interviewed for the Montreal job last season (he said he snuck over after a road trip and might not have even missed a Sounders training session). He didn’t get that job, but it seems like it’s just matter of time before he becomes an MLS head coach. Schmetzer is confident in himself and has the support of Schmid and general manager Adrian Hanauer.
Here’s an interesting quote from Hanauer that didn’t make the story: “In a league where the salary cap and the draft and allocation rankings and the rest of the rules strive for parity, coaching is a very important part of how you can get an advantage. To have Sigi and Brian as the leads, and then to have (Ezra Hendrickson, Dave Tenney, Tom Dutra, Kurt Schmid) and the gang on board I think provides us with the best coaching staff in Major League Soccer. And you need those little advantages to win consistently. I think you see that by how difficult it is for teams to win consistently in our league. There aren’t very many examples of teams that have won as consistently as we have in these three and a half years.”