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February 4, 2013 at 4:29 PM

Former Liverpool defender Djimi Traore joins preseason camp as an invitee

02042013.jpgPhoto credit: SoundersFC.com

Sounders FC has been doing its due diligence recently looking at center back options, following the offseason trade of Jeff Parke and preseason injury to Patrick Ianni

The most recent invitee? Djimi Traore, who has played for clubs like Liverpool, Marseille, Portsmouth and a few others in Europe.

Other current trialists at the position include Canadian international Mason Trafford and out-of-contract MLS veteran Shavar Thomas.

Traore, who can also play left back, certainly has the most impressive resume. He played for Liverpool in the 2005 UEFA Champions League final against AC Milan, one of the most famous games in soccer history as the Reds fought back from 3-0 down to win in penalty kicks.

Expect Traore, along with youngsters and other newcomers in Sounders’ camp, to feature in Tuesday’s 9:30 a.m. exhibition against Portland at the Kino Sports Complex Tucson. Streaming of the game will be available on SoundersFC.com and MLSsoccer.com. Tickets are general admission and available here.

The team will travel from Casa Grande to Tucson before the game Tuesday morning.

Here an updated camp roster; team-provided quotes from coach Sigi Schmid after the jump…

* * *

Goalkeepers (4): Michael Gspurning, Marcus Hahnemann, Josh Ford, Doug Herrick#

Defenders (14): Jhon Kennedy Hurtado, Patrick Ianni, Zach Scott, Adam Johansson*, Leo Gonzalez, Marc Burch, Andrew Duran, DeAndre Yedlin+, Eriq Zavaleta%, Dylan Remick^, Anshani Fairclough#, Mason Trafford#, Shavar Thomas#, Djimi Traore#

Midfielders (14): Osvaldo Alonso, Mauro Rosales, Christian Tiffert, Steve Zakuani, Brad Evans*, Mario Martinez*, Lamar Neagle, Andy Rose, Alex Caskey, Servando Carrasco, Kevin Olali^, Lebogang Moloto^, Philip Lund#, Guy Essame#

Forwards (7): Eddie Johnson*, Sammy Ochoa, David Estrada, Babayele Sodade, Jennings Rex^, Travis Bowen#, Will Bates^

Not reported (1): Kevin Durr^

Not expected to be part of camp (2): Cordell Cato~, Blair Gavin#

* — national team duty, # — trialist, ^ — unsigned draft pick, % — signed to Generation Adidas contract, italics — affected by injury, + — signed homegrown player, ~ — Sounders own his MLS rights

* * *

SIGI SCHMID, head coach

(On what he was able to get out of the 11v11 Saturday…) “It was more just about evaluating players and seeing players. We have a good idea of the guys on our team obviously going into the game Tuesday we’re missing some important pieces to the team. There are four guys gone with National teams, [Osvaldo] Alonso isn’t going to be in there as well so that’s 50-percent of your starting lineup that isn’t going to be out there. [Patrick] Ianni is injured as well so maybe that’s’ 60-percent of your starting lineup all of sudden. So it’s a matter of looking at other people, some other people are going to get good opportunities. It’s important not to go crazy about Tuesday’s results because Tuesday is going to be about looking at other people.”

(On he expects to see out of the team on Tuesday…) “I expect to see where guys are fitness-wise. I expect to see everybody play a solid 45 minutes because it’s the end of our fitness week. So we get to see how they’re doing that way then they get a couple of days off, and then we start training again on Friday there should be a sharpness back into their step, maybe that sharpness comes Saturday. It usually takes one training to get that out of you. And to be able to make decisions on certain roster spots, to be able to look at some of the trialists who are in here, especially the foreign guys like a Phillip Lund and a Djimi Traore and a Shavar Thomas to give us an indication to where they are at. Those are the most important things the result is secondary.”

(On what are some of the surprising results he’s seen out of the older guys…) “I think with all of the returning guys the fitness level has been good. Steve Zakuani, this is his first preseason in a while, two years, so for him to be able to get through it is an important thing. I think he is physically stronger than he has been in the past. These fields have been a little bit harder to play on than we would have liked them to be, they’re difficult to play soccer sometimes because the ball is pretty bouncy so everyone’s touch looks off a little bit, but right now the main thing has been about the work part and I think Zakuani’s work has been pretty good…Leo [Gonzalez], Mark Burch, [Jhon] Kennedy [Hurtado], [Mauro] Rosales, they’re all fitness wise in the best place that they have been this early in the season.”

(On how much does it benefit to play a team that isn’t the Sounders…) “It’s always good. It always motivates you a little bit. It’s good to kick somebody different than kicking yourselves. You get tired of playing each other so it’s a good culmination to the week. The guys will be a little antsy to get home, I’m sure that’s always the case, so again I think a lot of guys know that this is a big opportunity for them so they have to take full advantage of it, and a lot of guys know it’s a chance for them to work on their sharpness, their game and their fitness.”

(On the US national team …) “I think it’s great. Obviously it’s great for the Seattle club to have two players on the roster for a World Cup qualifier. I don’t think that’s happened before so that’s a unique step. It shows that in the case of Brad, we’ve helped Brad grow continue to grow and develop as a player, and we’ve certainly helped Eddie get back into the fold. But it’s a tribute to them, it’s their work. It’s Eddies work that he’s done, it’s the work that Brad has done that has put them in that position, but it’s good, and I’m sure everyone is looking forward to that game.”

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