Here are some notes from Wednesday’s practice…
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— The big news was the absence of forward Sammy Ochoa, who is expected to be waived later today. The 26-year-old has been really a non-factor this year after scoring eight goals in all competitions in 2012 (third best on the team). Four of those goals were in the CONCACAF Champions League, which Seattle didn’t qualify for this summer, and three were in the U.S. Open Cup, of which the Sounders have already been eliminated.
— Coach Sigi Schmid talked about Ochoa after Wednesday’s practice: “(He ) just hasn’t been as productive … and hasn’t had the opportunities because of the extra games. In preparation of maybe doing something else, we had to do this, as well.”
— Sounds like moves are coming, though I believe no trialists are currently training with the team.
— In an Obafemi Martins update, the forward wasn’t active in training but came out midway through to jog around the field on his own. He had no wrap, brace or anything other protection on the knee that was kicked in Tuesday’s practice. “We wanted to go easy on him today, sort of self-regulate himself,” Schmid said. “It was a confusing thing whether he kicked Mauro or Mauro kicked him; they sort of kicked each other. X-rays were negative, but he had some swelling there today, so we just wanted to go easy. He said today he wasn’t planning on running out there, but it felt better so he came out and ran. He said he felt pretty good when he ran, and tomorrow being an off day, a treatment day, we think by Friday he should be fine.”
— I asked Schmid if he watched an HBO report Tuesday on alleged discrimination regarding Sunday’s opponent, Chivas USA: “No, I didn’t see it. I’ve heard about it, people have told me about it, but I didn’t watch it. Obviously I know (Dan) Calichman, I know (Teddy) Chronopoulos and some of the other people that were on there. It’s something that’s been out there for a while. It’s obviously an issue. I think it’s a Chivas issue. I don’t think it’s a Sounder issue. I don’t think it’s an MLS issue. I think it’s a Chivas issue and hopefully they’ll find resolution in the appropriate manner.”
— Asked how much MLS should be involved, Schmid said that’s above his pay grade but reiterated he thinks it’s a club concern.
— Asked if it will be a distraction to the team this week, Schmid said he doesn’t think “it’s a big important part of conversations within the team. All the guys know, some guys have been down at Chivas and played there, and they’ve talked to them. I think the attitude within the team is, ‘That’s them. That’s not us.’”
— And does it affect preparation for the game not knowing how Chivas is going to handle this major off-the-field news? “No,” said Schmid. “It’s something that should be more on their minds than it is on ours. All that’s on our minds is playing the game Sunday and getting points.”
— Here was Chivas USA’s response.
— Goalkeepers Michael Gspurning (forearm) and Marcus Hahenmann (hamstring) were doing very light work today, but it was progress. We’ll try to get an update on them later in the week.
— Philip Lund‘s parents were in town visiting from Denmark. He’s still out with a foot injury.
— Ashani Fairclough, cut by the Sounders earlier this year, has rejoined training, but Schmid noted that’s more as a favor for the defender to stay active since he hasn’t caught on with another team.
— Lastly, I asked Schmid if he feels the Sounders are getting the same Eddie Johnson that the national team gets and if that’s even a fair comparison. Four goals in 12 MLS games is admittedly “not as good as it was last year,” Schmid said. “I don’t think his production with the national team is higher than that necessarily. If he had the same amount of games as some other guys in the league, he might be at six goals or seven goals and then it doesn’t look so bad.
“Certainly I think going with the national team and the travel takes its toll sometimes on people. There were important qualifiers that they played in this year, so those were not only physical games but emotional games. Eddie, I think, will come back. I know he’s ready to play. I know he was disappointed when he wasn’t in the starting lineup against El Salvador. It’s something that he texted me. We went back and forth on text and said he wished he could’ve been here with us if he knew he wasn’t starting. But it’s the commitment that we made and that he made to be there, and I’m looking forward to him coming back and scoring goals for us.”