The Sounders held an 11v11 scrimmage day at practice Friday, and here are some notes from the day…
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— Eddie Johnson has returned from his break following national team duty and the Real Salt Lake game. He scored the opening goal in the scrimmage for the orange team (i.e. the “starters”) and also was involved an argument that has gotten some attention but probably wouldn’t have resulted in more than a few yellow cards in game.
— At one point in the second half, Johnson got fouled hard while making a run by Patrick Ianni, the forward retaliated with a shove and then exchanged words with Marcus Hahnemann (who was on the green team with Ianni and came to his center back’s defense).
— I asked coach Sigi Schmid, who was back from knee surgery, what he saw from the scrimmage and if emotions got too high. “No, no. I think it’s good,” said Schmid, who chatted for a bit with Johnson after practice. “When guys are emotionally involved, it’s good. In Germany there’s a saying: ‘You need a spark to have a fire, and you always want a fire on your team.’ So it’s OK to have some sparks. I thought the guys competed. I thought the game was good. Good goals. Eddie’s first goal was a good goal. The orange team I thought was a little bit better in the first half. And the green team I thought was a little bit better in the second half of the game. Good goal by Estrada and good goal by Sammy. It was good. We got out of it what we wanted. We got the work out of it that we wanted, as well.”
— The orange team consisted of GK Michael Gspurning, D Zach Scott, D Jhon Kennedy Hurtado, D Djimi Traore, D Leo Gonzalez, M Mauro Rosales, M Shalrie Joseph, M Servando Carrasco, M Brad Evans, F Obafemi Martins, F Eddie Johnson.
— The green team consisted of GK Marcus Hahnemann, D Dylan Remick, D Roberto Chen (trialist), D Patrick Ianni, D Marc Burch, M Will Bates, M Aodhan Quinn (U-23s), M Andy Rose, M David Estrada, F Sammy Ochoa, F Philip Lund
— Those inactive were goalkeeper Josh Ford (knee surgery), Steve Zakuani (sports hernia surgery), Alex Caskey (precaution for concussion after hitting head in Thursday’s practice), Osvaldo Alonso (quad strain) and Lamar Neagle (hip flexor strain).
— Other non-contract guys around are Sean Okoli (U-23s), Neal Kitson (trialist goalkeeper), Doug Herrick (MLS pool goalkeeper) and another player (possibly from the U-23s, as well).
— I thought the final score was 1-1 with Johnson scoring the opener and Sammy Ochoa firing a beautiful equalizer from distance. Schmid apparently counted a goal by David Estrada, a fine header on the back post, but I had thought the offside flag was up, so the green team might have won, 2-1. I could be wrong as it wasn’t exactly a formal game with stats, instant replay and a box score.
— Alonso and Neagle were able to participate in warmups. Schmid was asked specifically for an update on Neagle but had updates on both: “Good. (Lamar) did a lot of stuff today. Alonso did a lot more today. So they’re getting a lot closer. We’ll probably still see tomorrow how we push them a little bit, but by Monday we probably think Lamar is in training and Alonso’s going to be very close.”
— Rookie Eriq Zavaleta has left the team again, presumably to resume his loan with San Antonio of the second-division NASL (something Schmid alluded to earlier this week).
— I’ll get to more about Mario Martinez and DeAndre Yedlin in separate posts. Martinez was not back Friday, however, as had been expected. The Honduran national was named to the Gold Cup roster though — a surprise to the Sounders — and had sent out a tweet earlier in the day indicating he might be staying with Real Espana. Yedlin is set to return tonight for U.S. duty at the FIFA U-20 World Cup in Turkey.
— Also worth noting, today is the wedding day of sporting director Chris Henderson, so congratulations to him.
— Lastly, some notes on Schmid’s return from partial knee replacement surgery earlier in the week. Friday was the coach’s first day back and he needed the use of crutches. Asked how he is doing, Schmid said: “Good, good, good. Things went well. The surgery went well and the recovery has gone well so far. I’m trying to stay off all the pain meds, so I don’t go psychologically crazy on anybody. But no, it’s been good. It’s been coming along pretty good.”
— Schmid had planned to do the surgery after the season, “but it just kept getting worse and worse,” he said, “and it was just painful all the time. Even yesterday, coming home and watching games on TV, being able to sit there and watch TV and have your leg up and not have it throb was a nice change of pace. I just felt that it was getting so bad that I didn’t want to wake up in a bad mood and take it out on my team, so I figured I’d better get surgery.”
— I asked if he’s a game-time decision for Wednesday’s game. Schmid joked: “The questions are, ‘Am I going to crutch it, am I going to cane it, or are they going to cart me over?’ So that’s the game-day decision.”