Sammy Ochoa is earning his way back into MLS minutes. Photo courtesty of SoundersFC.com from the match against the Whitecaps earlier in the month.
Sammy Ochoa was the most popular player interview after Seattle Sounders practice. The traditional target forward recorded a brace in the Reserve game against Chivas USA. He knows that the expectations from Sigi Schmid on the First Team or Ezra Hendrickson on the Reserves is to score goals. Sigi reminded the gathered media that players can and do work their way up from success in secondary competitions to meaningful minutes in MLS matches. Ochoa also had the pleasure of having his brother on the bench due to his suggestion to the team. Both Sammy and Sigi noted fitness concerns, some of those being from challenges sleeping due to his newborn.
Injury Update: Michael Gspurning has not been in full practice, but according to Schmid "the expectation is that he’ll play" on Saturday. Michael Tetteh returned to full practice and may have been a bit eager as his aggression defensively was dialed a bit higher than the rest of the team in what was to be a light, no sliding tackle practice. Alvaro Fernandez was running on the side. His timeline is the least knowable among the regular players. Mauro Rosales and Adam Johansson were in full training, while Patrick Ianni may be questionable as he was on the side and left early for treatment. Jhon Kennedy Hurtado did a mix of individual work and play in the small sided games. Josh Ford was running and did ball work. Andrew Weber did some keeper specific fitness drills. The Friday Injury Report may be the smallest of 2012 for the Sounders. Several healthy players also did individual work similar to Brad Evans earlier in the week as Dave Tenney works on building the team up prior to a stretch where getting in aerobic exercise will be more difficult.
Steve Zakuani is still on his own, highly individualized program.
Champions League: Sigi is clearly a fan of German football. Prior to the yesterday's win Sigi was asked if he'd prefer to have a German team win the Final or the team he faces in this year's friendly. The smile and joke about facing Bayern in a friendly made it clear. He also had a mix of praise for Di Matteo's tactics and shared a bit of frustration that must be in Guardiola. While Seattle is clearly not of the quality of Barcelona, but in several games they've faced extreme bunker & counter tactics and rarely use that plan themselves. Each of the last two days there was a general rush by players, staff and media to wrap up in time to watch leg two of the semis.