Things were a little slower at Sounders FC practice Thursday than the day before, but here are a few notes from the day:
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— There were no apparent changes in personnel, but second-round pick Jimmy Ockford wasn’t active after having practiced Wednesday. Coach Sigi Schmid said the defender’s knee was bothering him, an injury that dates to a collision with goalkeeper Stefan Frei in a preseason game last week. Ockford was set to undergo an MRI this afternoon.
— Two other guys recovering from injury are 2013 draft picks Eriq Zavaleta and Will Bates.
— It was a remarkably windy day out a Starfire, so Schmid said there was some having to get used to the elements after training in Arizona and then indoors at the VMAC. The Sounders were on the artificial turf field today in order to let the grass field grow in properly. Tearing it up now could affect the whole season.
— Regarding homegrown players in Sean Okoli and Aaron Kovar, Schmid said each have shown their abilities in preseason but that it will be hard to replicate the homegrown impact that DeAndre Yedlin had last year: “Sometimes things have to work out in perfect alignment. For DeAndre it was the perfect situation where Adam (Johansson) was injured at the beginning of last season, DeAndre got a chance to play, played well, we decided not to renew Adam at that point, so the opportunity and the position were there for the taking. For Sean and Aaron, it’s a little more difficult because there are players in that position who aren’t necessarily going to go away on the near term. They probably need to battle through a little bit more than DeAndre had to last year.”
— I asked Schmid how much the Sounders considered a partnership with Obafemi Martins in the pursuit of forward Kenny Cooper. Here was the response: “I think the opportunity presented itself. It was not necessarily an opportunity that we were going out seeking, but the opportunity presented itself and it made sense for us to do it. Kenny being a bigger guy and a guy who likes to drop off a little bit or go to the wings I think is a good fit for Oba, so when we evaluated that situation and making that trade, we felt it was a trade that was going to help us.”
— All eyes are on the final roster spots with seemingly only a handful up for grabs, maybe less than that. So has anyone particularly impressed so far? “Different guys have stood out on different days; players have had their moments at different times,” Schmid said. “At the end of the day, we still have some tough decisions to make in terms of our final roster selections, and we continue to work on our ball movement and our shape. As I said to the guys today, we want guys who are going to move the ball and we want guys who are going to move off the ball. It doesn’t matter what your name is. We want guys on the field who are going to play the ball and move off the ball.”
— Over to Reign FC quickly, the team has signed goalkeeper Haley Kopmeyer, continuing its week of announcements. Kopmeyer was a 2013 draft pick.
— Lastly, all of Sounders FC’s games in 2014 will be broadcast in Spanish by the ESPN Deportes Seattle Radio Group, which has stations in Seattle, Tacoma and Olympia. The partnership includes half-hour pregame and postgame shows.