Good afternoon folks. Thanks for your understanding in the lack of content over a slow weekend.
Here are some notes from Monday’s practice:
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— A lot of talk centered on forward Eddie Johnson, who starred for the U.S. national team in a much-needed 2-1 win in World Cup qualifying Friday. In a new development, we’ve learned Real Salt Lake will be flying Johnson to Seattle after Tuesday’s qualifier versus Guatemala. RSL had set up a flight to bring its USMNT players Kyle Beckerman and Nick Rimando to town for Wednesday’s game and agreed to bring Johnson, as well.
— Defender Jhon Kennedy Hurtado will be fitted for a protective mask that could allow him to return to action despite suffering a fractured cheekbone in the Portland game. It’s unsure when the mask would be ready and if Hurtado (who didn’t participate in all of Monday’s practice) would take to it and still be able to perform.
— That’s mean there will likely be three changes to the Sounders defense for the RSL game. Out: Hurtado, Leo Gonzalez (hamstring injury), Adam Johansson (international duty). In: Patrick Ianni, Marc Burch, Zach Scott.
— Goalkeeper Michael Gspurning is good to go after he was held out of activity a bit last week. It was all precautionary and Gspurning said it was the right way to go.
— There was a lot of attention on the battle for the No. 2 seed in the Western Conference playoffs, which I’m sure will be a main talking point throughout the buildup to Wednesday’s kickoff.
— There was also some chat about how this game was reschedule to accommodate the Chelsea friendly but will result on both teams being shorthanded due to international call-ups. Coach Sigi Schmid said things like that happen over the course of a season and there’s nothing that can be done about it.
— We chatted with GM Adrian Hanauer a bit after practice, as well, about the recent Leaders in Football conference in England, the rescheduling of the RSL game and a couple other matters. I’ll make that a separate post.