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March 20, 2013 at 12:51 PM

Belated notes from Tuesday’s practice: Forwards at the forefront

03192013 practice

I had meant to get to these notes earlier, but better late than never…

— It looks like everyone in camp was a participant in Tuesday’s warmups for the Sounders, which is a good sign in the recoveries of Brad Evans (calf strain), Patrick Ianni (foot fracture), Shalrie Joseph (calf strain) and unsigned rookie Will Bates (knee surgery).

— Once drills got going in earnest, those guys trained off to the side. Servando Carrasco and trialist Philip Lund were also jogging on their own at one point, perhaps taking it lightly after knocks from Sunday’s reserve game.

— Defender Adam Johansson, of course, wasn’t there as his release is expected any day now.

— Non-contract guys still with the group are Bates, Lund, Ashani Fairclough and Doug Herrick. There will be three open roster sports upon the exit of Johansson.

— One of the main issues this week, obviously, is what to do at forward with Eddie Johnson and Obafemi Martins on international duty. Here is coach Sigi Schmid: “There are different options. … (David) Estrada‘s getting closer. There’s (Sammy) Ochoa. (Eriq) Zavaleta we’ve played up front, as well. We can always push up (Steve) Zakuani also, so there are different options. We’ve played (Mauro) Rosales up there. We’ll figure it out this week.”

— Estrada has been recovering from an ankle injury, but was able to play 45 minutes in Sunday’s reserve game. Schmid said the issue with the forward has been overtraining, which can slow the recovery process. Estrada said he feels good and he’s looking forward to contributing Saturday in San Jose, where the native of Salinas, Calif., will have an estimated 50 friends and family members in attendance.

— Ochoa, Schmid said, has been involved in good plays, but (like everyone else on the team) needs to be more consistent. “At the end of the day, you’re a forward, so you get measured by goals and assists, and that’s the unfortunate thing,” the coach added.

— I chatted with goalkeeper Michael Gspurning briefly and asked him how he thinks the defense has played, having allowed a single goal in all four games this season. “I think we do a good job in the defense,” he said. “We are coordinated, we are connected — ‘connected’  is a good word — and I think we’ve found ourselves. One goal against is OK. … I have a very good feeling, and this is what counts much more for me than exact statistics up until now. I think also you see from the stands that it looks good how we stay compact and tight together. I think it’s decent, but you can improve every time. Always if you say something, the next time you play it’s exactly different, but I feel very confident.”

— Regarding Sunday’s reserve game, Schmid picked out guys like Dylan Remick, Zach Scott, Alex Caskey and academy products Jordan Morris and Henry Wingo as notable standouts.

— The Sounders are off Wednesday (Schmid’s 60th birthday) and return to action Thursday.


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