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January 29, 2013 at 12:33 PM

Sounders head off to Arizona (Tuesday notes)

kelley.jpgThe Sounders are off to Arizona this afternoon, but first a few notes…

* * *

— First off, the team honored our columnist Steve Kelley, who will soon be leaving The Seattle Times after 30 years. He got a jersey and a picture with the team (above) after Gary Wright, VP of business operations, offered some kind words.

Patrick Ianni is the only player who won’t make the trip to Arizona due to the fractured foot suffered Saturday. All the returning players and draft picks, plus the trialists listed in this post, are en route to the training facility at Casa Grande. Coach Sigi Schmid said one or two players could join the team there.

— New acquisition Lamar Neagle was here, but the team took it light with him on his first day. He trained mostly to the side. Trialist Philip Lund is another guy who’s been off to the side a bit the past few days.

— Schmid said they’ll have to wait and see if Eddie Johnson and Brad Evans stay with the U.S. men’s national team following tonight’s friendly vs. Canada. If they don’t stay for a Feb. 6 World Cup qualifier in Honduras, they could join the Sounders this weekend in Arizona. If they do stay, they’ll rejoin later.

— Any update regarding a preseason friendly for CCL preparation? “I think we’re close,” Schmid said. “Nothing that we can officially say, but I think we’re close to having a game against a team from Mexico during our Tucson phase.” That phase is from Feb. 11-23. The game would be in Arizona.

— And have any trialists impressed? If so, who? “Yeah, some are, but I won’t say right now. I’ve been pleased with some of the people. Some of the guys, obviously right now their legs are starting to get a little bit heavy and they’re struggling a little bit that way fitness-wise, but there have been some guys who definitely have opened up our eyes and (made us say), ‘Hey, that guy looks pretty sharp. He’s pretty good off the dribble. He’s pretty quick.’ And the main thing is what you’re looking for from young players is moments. Then you’re trying to turn those moments into periods of time. But if a guy doesn’t have any moments, there’s really not much you can do. … But it’s been good. I think the spirit in camp has been good, the effort has been good, the work has been good.”

— Now for some team building in Arizona…

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