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April 1, 2014 at 3:48 PM

Tuesday notes: Brad Evans (calf) still questionable for Portland game Saturday

Here are a few notes from Sounders FC’s return to training Tuesday ahead of a weekend trip to Portland:

*     *     *

— First off, Andy Rose was able to train as he recovers from the hamstring tightness that kept him out of the Crew game. There is still a worry with Brad Evans, though, who has missed the past two MLS games and had to pull out of U.S. national team duty with a calf injury. Coach Sigi Schmid said: “It was just a decision where (USMNT Jurgen Klinsmann) and I both felt it would be better for Brad to continue his rehab here. We just want to make sure that he’s able to get over this injury completely, so we’ve slowed it down a little bit. The question of whether he’ll be ready for Saturday is up in the air at this stage. We really wanted to back off at the beginning of the week and see how he responded.”

— The first Portland game of the year could be the first time we see ex-Sounder Steve Zakuani in a Timbers uniform. The midfielder is dealing with a hamstring injury, so he might not be available, but Schmid discussed the departure of the Seattle’s first-ever draft pick: “Well, we hope he’s healthy to play. If he’s healthy to play, it will be sad to see him on the other side of the pitch, but it was the decision that he reached and that we reached, as well. There were certain options that were present that really weren’t presented to us and options that he took advantage of in terms of going down there. But it is what it is, and we move forward and they move forward.” Make of that what you will.

— With Kevin Parsemain‘s signing coming late last week, there wasn’t really a good time to ask Schmid about it until Tuesday. Here is what the coach said, particularly about why it took so long: “We were just trying to work everything out. We had seen enough of him in preseason that we wanted to sign him, it just took a little while to get all the i’s dotted and the t’s crossed to get everything right. Once we got everything right, we were able to finalize the contract. But he’s somebody, who just like he showed Sunday in the reserve game, has an ability to score goals. He’s technically very, very sound. He’s got good touch and has good explosion, so he’s somebody that’s going to be important to us as we move forward in this season.”

— Of course there had to be some Portland talk. As Schmid said, “If we have to motivate a Seattle player for the Seattle-Portland match, then he hasn’t really identified with the spirit of the club.”

— Schmid was asked if some feelings from the November playoff series still linger. “It’s a rivalry and it’s a rivalry game, so is it November? Is it the Open Cup from a few years ago when we beat them? Is it just all the games down there? It’s all together,” he said. “For sure, at this stage for us, it’s about how we respond to our last game as much as anything, but it’s a rivalry game, so it’s going to be intense, it’s going to be a usual Portland-Seattle game, and, yeah, last November stays with us a little bit.”

— Does the rivalry feel different at all with so many players having switched sides the past couple years (e.g. Kenny Cooper and Adam Moffat coming to Seattle after being Timbers and Zakuani and Andrew Weber being ex-Sounders in Portland)? “Doesn’t feel different to me,” Schmid said. “I don’t think it feels different to them. I think it’s something that’s always going to be there just because of the historical tradition of the two cities and the tradition that goes back to 1974 and the NASL. It’s not something that you’re to change. Just because you had Figo go from Barcelona to Real Madrid, I don’t think changed that rivalry any bit.”

— And what of Portland’s struggles at 0-2-2? “MLS is so close,” Schmid said. “All the teams are close. On any given day, anybody can beat anybody. I think that’s been proven throughout this league over the course of the last few years. Certainly right now, they’ve brought in some new pieces, so they’re looking for their continuity within that, and we’re looking for our continuity and consistency, as well. For us, we’re going to look at how they’ve played and what we think we can take advantage of as we analyze their team right now. We know they’ve struggled scoring goals a little bit, hopefully they’ll continue to struggle scoring goals against us, but in this league you can never tell from game to game.”

— So will the Sounders stick with the 4-3-3 formation with Clint Dempsey set to come back? “We’ll see. … We’ll see how all that fits back together.”

— Lastly, Seattle has scored five goals and those have come from five different players. Schmid said he wanted multiple scoring options this season but hoped someone might have two or three at this point. One of the points of emphasis this week will be having a higher finishing percentage as it relates to chances created.

| More in Practice notes, Sounders FC


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