Sounders FC has had a handful of trialists that have been around for most — if not all — of preseason camp
Forward/midfielder Philip Lund and forward Travis Bowen are two that have been around since Day 1 and made all the trips. Defender Ashani Fairclough joined soon after the MLS supplemental draft (he wasn’t drafted).
I asked coach Sigi Schmid for his thoughts on the trio as we get close to the start of the season. Here were the answers:
“With Philip, it’s been a little bit of we need to see him stay healthy for two weeks. He was carrying an injury when he first came in. Then he was the guy who was affected by the sickness more than anybody else on the team. So we’re trying to get him healthy for two weeks to truly evaluate him.”
“Travis Bowen has just been very consistent and worked very hard. We still need to make a couple decisions at the bottom end of our roster. There are some other things that affect those decisions, so we’re waiting for that to get cleared.”
“Ashani, every time we’ve stuck him into a game, he’s done very well. I thought he had a very good against Salt Lake (in the Desert Diamond Cup final) playing against two good strikers in (Alvaro Saborio and Robbie Findley). Athletically, he’s very, very good. To me, he’s a big sponge. He learns all the time and gets a little bit better all the time. So again, we need to find the right situation with us — reserve games, maybe getting loaned out a little bit. So those are the decisions we’re trying to make. But obviously we think he has value.”
So did the Sounders come close to drafting Fairclough, who has had a stronger preseason than a lot of those supplemental draft picks (to be fair, many of them have had issues with injuries or school commitments)?
“Yeah, we did,” Schmid said, “but at the end we thought nobody would pick him. … We obviously had our eye on him. He was at our combine, and I know (assistant coach/scout Kurt Schmid) saw him play a couple of times in college and always rated him, so that was the reason we brought him in.”