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March 9, 2013 at 8:08 PM

Djimi Traore: ‘Seattle’s is one of the best crowds I’ve played in front of.’

traore mug 2013A 1-0 deficit in the Champions League?

There is at least one Sounder who knows first-hand that it is certainly an obstacle that can be overcome. That is defender Djimi Traore, who in case you forgot was part of one of the great comebacks in world soccer history.

The 33-year-old veteran made his Sounders FC debut Wednesday in the road leg of CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinal against Mexico’s Tigres UANL. By all accounts, the new center-back did quite well, earning praise from coach Sigi Schmid and fans alike (at least from what I’ve seen).

So how did Traore think things went? I chatted with him after Friday’s practice.

“It was fine,” he said. “Of course I can do better than that, but it was my first game in a long time. It’s a new team, so I need to get used to playing with my new teammates.”

Based on what I could tell, it had been about 10 months since Traore’s last game. He started for France’s Marseille in a Ligue 1 game last May, then left the team after that season and was a free agent until signing with Seattle last month.

And while Traore is yet to make his MLS debut, he was on the bench for the season opener against Montreal, which allowed him to take in the CenturyLink Field experience. I asked him what his impressions were of his new home.

“To be honest, I think it was a very great atmosphere in the stadium,” he said. “I’m pleased with the fans because I can see they’re very passionate. Even 1-0 down at halftime, they were still behind the team, and that can be a plus for the rest of the season for the way we play at home.”

So does soccer in Seattle really feel like it does in Europe?

“I’ve played for different clubs in Europe — in France, in England — and to be fair, I was very surprised with the atmosphere at our stadium,” Traore said. “It was very good. You can compare that to the atmosphere I’ve experienced in England. Seattle’s is one of the best crowds I’ve played in front of.”

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