Here are some quick notes from Sounders FC practice Friday as the team wrapped up preparations for Saturday afternoon’s home game versus New England.
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— I asked coach Sigi Schmid if he felt he was pressured into guaranteeing a win against the Revolution while on the air with KJR-AM host Dave “Softy” Mahler on Thursday. You have to listen to the interview to fully understand what I’m getting at, but Schmid said he wasn’t pulled into it.
“It’s my belief,” he said. “I have a strong belief in our team. I know we’re still missing some guys. I know we’ve got some guys out injured, and we haven’t had our complete team here at training. Hopefully our fans understand that and know that. We’re also trying to make sure we find the right mix on the field. We want to get healthy bodies on the field, guys who can give the energy and are going to run their hearts out for Seattle. And when they go out there and play with that energy and that commitment and that dedication, I feel confident they’re going to win the game. So my prediction of a win was based upon that confidence.”
— And so how about those injuries? Well, we know forwards Obafemi Martins (knee) and David Estrada (eye) are out. Things haven’t looked that great for Eddie Johnson (hamstring) either. Schmid said Johnson just did individual work Friday, meaning he wasn’t trained with the group the past two days since returning from Mexico. Midfielder Brad Evans (calf) is also iffy.
— There is some good news, potentially, as it appears defender Patrick Ianni is nearly back from a broken foot suffered in preseason. “He’ll probably play in the reserve game on Monday,” Schmid said. “We want him to play in a reserve game before he steps on the field. … He was in full training with the reserve guys who stayed behind on Tuesday and Wednesday. He was full-in basically the last two days with us, so we’ll see how he does in the reserve game. We’ll try to get him 45 minutes and a full week of training and then we’ll have a better evaluation at the end of last week.”
— Unsigned rookie Will Bates is another player Schmid singled out as someone who will see time in Monday’s reserve game in Los Angeles. “We’ll see how he’s doing, as well,” the coach said.
— Lastly, I asked Schmid about if there’s any benefit to MLS in having a functional professional women’s league as the NWSL kicks off this weekend.
“Any time soccer succeeds, I think it’s good for soccer,” he said. “Certainly we wish the women’s league success and hopefully it’ll … do well. I know women’s professional sports has been a difficult enterprise in this country — not just in soccer. I hope people don’t look at it as, ‘There’s soccer not succeeding,’ because it’s a difficult proposition in all sports. The only reason the women’s basketball really exists is because of support of the NBA. I want to see them succeed because it’s soccer succeeding. I want to see them succeed because anytime you have professional athletes being able to compete and do well, it helps our World Cup teams and it’s good for American soccer.”