Here are some notes from after Sounders FC practice Thursday. The team is set to arrive in Dallas later tonight ahead of Saturday’s road game:
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— First off, forward Kevin Parsemain and rookie defender Damion Lowe have been placed on the disabled list following their injuries (a torn ACL and hip surgery, respectively). Both are required to miss the next six games, though each will be out for much longer. The moves do not affect the salary cap, but there are two open spots on the roster now — two international slots, too — so the Sounders will have some flexibility to make moves. Sporting director Chris Henderson talked about as much with Sounder at Heart.
— Here was the latest from coach Sigi Schmid when asked if Brad Evans (calf) and/or Andy Rose (hamstring) would be traveling to Dallas: “Brad is coming along slowly. I don’t know if there’s enough there yet for him to play this weekend, but we think the next weekend he should be on. With Andy, we’re sort of going to make a decision here in terms of him possibly traveling with us. … He went through the possession, and then we wanted to pull him out so he wouldn’t aggravate it. But it seems to be OK.”
— Asked if there has been any change to how the team deals with injuries this season, Schmid said: “We always review injuries and see if there is something at training that we’re doing or not doing that’s contributing or not helping. We’ve felt that we have been pretty good with injuries. I think we’ve avoided injuries for the most part. Obviously some injuries like the labrum tear and ACL, those are things that you can’t necessarily avoid.
“But (we’ve made a point) of putting guys out there and making sure they stay with the program, maybe easing off certain days of training with some people like (Osvaldo Alonso) and other guys when we see they’re tired. We’ve really made a conscientious effort about getting them out on the field, though — having them do something. Not, ‘OK, today is an injury day for you, so you’re just going to get a massage and that’s it.’
“It’s basically, ‘You’re going to do something. You’re going to go on the bike. You’re going to work with the trainers.’ We’ve changed our injury protocol with guys we know are injured where they can’t necessarily train, like Brad does his work inside while the guys are out here and then finishes up out here. … Our protocol has changed a little bit, but how we treat it? Not really.”
— So what does Schmid make of the hot start of FC Dallas, which leads the Western Conference at 4-0-1? “Dallas is a team that always starts off well,” said the coach, who has noted that weather considerations give FCD a lot of home games early in the season. “Hopefully they’ll start coming back to earth. They did that last year, and we hope they start that doing that this year with this weekend’s game.”
— A big concern this week has been a defense that allowed four goals in Portland. It has been a point of emphasis the past few days in training, and Schmid provided an update. “We worked on it today … we worked on it on Tuesday, also, and we’ll continue to work on it. A lot of it, when you go back and look at the goals we’ve taken up until now, we’ve been our own worst enemy on a lot of them. We’ve either turned the ball over or created a mistake in our defensive part of midfield and given the other team an easier route to goal, whether it was a back pass against TFC or a turnover, or the first goal against Portland, which also came off a turnover. We gave away a PK and a corner kick goal against Columbus. It hasn’t been where teams opened us up, per se; it’s where we’ve created problems for ourselves off turnovers, so we’ve tried to address that, and part of that as an offensive solution is being a little bit better at possessing the ball in that part of the field. So we’ve talked about that, but we’ve also talked about making sure that we get tighter to people quicker and that we have a better reaction in terms of our transition when the ball does turn over. That’s what we’ve been working on that past few days.”
— Getting veteran Djimi Traore back will be nice, as well. “Obviously Djimi is an experienced player and he’s done well for us back there,” Schmid said. “He’s a left-footed center back, and that allows Chad to go back to the right-hand side. Djimi’s experience and leadership are important parts for us. I know he’s looking forward to being on the field again and playing — just that enthusiasm helps, as well.”
— A lot of attention has gone on Clint Dempsey, but Schmid noted Kenny Cooper is also starting to get more integrated in the offense, which has led, of course, to scoring in back-to-back games: “Kenny will do whatever you ask him to do as a coach. He’s great to coach in that regard. I think he’s starting to understand when to come in and find himself as part of the offensive side of the game. … He’s starting to find the net now and he’s starting to feel comfortable. The guys know where he’s going to pop up, so that cohesion is starting to get better.”
— And when reminded Cooper is playing a former team for a second-straight week, Schmid joked: “Are we playing New York next?”