Sounders FC returned to practice Tuesday and here are a few notes from a busy day.
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— There are still a handful of non-contract players in camp: Danish trialist Philip Lund, former Philadelphia draft pick Stephen Okai, undrafted rookie Ashani Fairclough, forward Travis Bowen and supplemental draft pick Will Bates.
— Non-contract guys that are no longer around are supplemental draft picks Kevin Durr (who still has commitments with the Air Force Academy) and Jennings Rex. Also, invitee goalkeeper Doug Herrick is isn’t around; he’s expected to be with the Guamanian national team for an upcoming tournament.
— New signing Djimi Traore wasn’t with the group Tuesday, but is expected to arrive back in town tonight, according to a team spokesman.
— GM Adrian Hanauer, and I’ll have more from him later, confirmed the team is interested in signing Obafemi Martins before the close of this transfer window (believed to be in April). He also confirmed teams don’t get allocation money anymore for leaving the last two roster spots open and noted the team will still plan to carry about 28-30 players at the start of the season. Hanauer didn’t have much of an update on Christian Tiffert, who remains absent. He described it as part of an ongoing process. The fact that Hanauer was here indicates that sporting director Chris Henderson is the team official in Spain trying to finalize the Martins transfer.
— Coach Sigi Schmid (more from him later, too) noted that new DP midfielder Shalrie Joseph could be this year’s version of Eddie Johnson, a top veteran player who’s signing didn’t create much hype but could turn out to be a big move. Schmid noted the Joseph’s main motivations lies in sync with the Sounders’ motivation of finally wanting to win an MLS Cup.
— Patrick Ianni (foot fracture, pictured above) remains in a protective boot, but Schmid said the defender is making progress. Doctors are starting to let him walk around without the boot, so they’ll see how he does with that. It might seem like slow progress, but Schmid noted that the final stages go quickly.
— Adam Johansson (knee strain) did some running off to the side for much of the day. Schmid said the right back doesn’t feel 100% yet, and they’ll see how he feels tomorrow after today’s work.
— Joseph (calf strain) remains limited also. He chatted with him for a bit and he seems set on playing central midfield here with the Sounders. That’s where Schmid seems to like him, too. That could go in conjunction with what we heard from another guy, Brad Evans, who said he’s more and more embracing his role as a utility player (perhaps more at right back?).
— Lastly, we also chatted with Marc Burch for the first time since the defender used a gay slur in last year’s Western Conference semifinals. He’ll serve the final game of a three-game suspension Saturday.