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July 6, 2012 at 3:38 PM

Friday notes: Schmid declines to comment on Zakuani’s availability, Gspurning nears return

webers.jpgThere were a few visitors at practice today in anticipation of Saturday’s 8 p.m. game between Sounders FC and the Colorado Rapids at CenturyLink Field. Arlo White, Kyle Martino and the NBC Sports Network crew were around. As was Elliot Weber, the twin brother and Amazing Race partner of goalkeeper Andrew Weber (pictured above).

Here are some notes:

* * *

— Coach Sigi Schmid was asked if he could give an update on Steve Zakuani‘s availability for Saturday and whether the opponent factored into that decision. The Rapids’ roster, as you may well remember, features Brian Mullan, who broke Zakuani’s leg last April. “No and no,” Schmid answered. “I can’t tell you about the status and the opponent doesn’t figure into my thinking about it.” Looks like we’ll have to wait until game time for that one, which isn’t a big surprise. The team has guarded against expectation (e.g. deadlines) as Zakuani nears his return.

— The Sounders could be getting good news soon on the goalkeeper front. Schmid said Michael Gspurning, who has missed 11 games with a hip injury, has been “doing much better.” Gspurning trained the last two days and worked this morning on his kicking, which had been the main issue with the muscle strain. “We’ll work him again tomorrow and then give him Sunday off,” Schmid said, “and then we’ll see where he sits for next week. I think obviously tomorrow’s game is not for him, but I think he’s definitely getting very close.”

— Asked about some last thoughts going into the game, Schmid said the team is “just excited to be at home and be in our own beds for a while. It’s what I said to the guys before practice: I said, ‘Can you actually imagine we don’t have to get on a plane until a week from today?’ That’s like amazing for us right now. We’re happy about that, and so we want to be comfortable at home; we want to make it a pleasant home stay and take that happiness and that energy into the game.”

— For a scouting report, Schmid mentioned the threat of Colorado’s front line, which features a talented big forward (Conor Casey) and a talented speedy forward (Omar Cummings). He said the Rapids have changed to a 4-4-2 formation, which might require some adjustment after playing with a single forward for much of the season when Casey was out injured. Under new coach Oscar Pareja, Schmid added that Colorado has also shifted into a more possession-oriented style instead of playing directly.

— Asked if it’s possible to have a must-win game in Game 19, Schmid said, “They’re all must-win games for me. The way the schedule has worked out this year, with our last set of games really being against Western Conference opponents, everything is within our own hands. We always talk about winning season series with teams. This is our second game with Colorado. We won the first game, so if we can get a win here in this one, that means then at the very least that we win the season series. And if we can do that with every Western Conference team, we’ll be where we want to be at the end of the day.”


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