SANTA CLARA, CA - AUGUST 11: Sammy Ochoa #26 of the Seattle Sounders shoots on goal with a bicycle kick past Jason Hernandez #21 of the San Jose Earthquakes during a MLS game at Buck Shaw Stadium on August 11, 2012 in Santa Clara, California. (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)
Today's practice in the beautiful sunshine of Seattle was an opportunity for the Sounders to slow down a bit. It is one of those rare weeks with merely one game. That game is as large a Cascadia game has ever occurred in MLS, but still it is merely one game. The number one story today was the amount of activity out there. There were five keepers (one is training with the team to keep sharp) and three fields of small sided play. It may seem odd to Sounders fans, but the team is as healthy as ever with David Estrada and Babayele Sodade as the only players not partaking in the drills and games.
That includes Steve Zakuani who met with most of the gathered media today and talked about his time in the Reserve loss to San Jose. Joshua Mayers has the full transcript. Here's a nugget to whet your appetite;
(Schmid said you played both as a forward and on the wing on Sunday. How much have you been able to get back to playing on the wing?) "I think I'm always going to be a winger in Major League Soccer. In that game, because we had a lot of young players and the personnel we had, I had to play up front. But at the same time, I just was trying to get touches on the ball. I think as I move further along in my recovery I'm going to have to start re-playing the left midfield position, which is where I love to play and pick up the ball. It's different from playing up top, and I'm not a forward. I don't want to be a forward. I want to be a winger, which is what I am, so I don't think there's much for me to do. It's just a case of you need more fitness to get up and down, but other than that, it's second nature. I did it all my life, so it will be easy for me."
Sammy Ochoa chatted with Sounder at Heart about his start, role on the team and a quite athletic attempt at a bicycle kick.
Thoughts on getting a start and extended run of minutes
It's good when you can get playing time. It doesn't matter how much you get, but to start is good because you can get a good opportunity to show what you can do. But we didn't get the result. You got to keep working to see if you can get more minutes.
Should the crossbar be higher?
[laughs] I don't think I've hit the post twice in my career. I was just unlucky. It was a good thing that I was there. I tried and the chances were there. They didn't go in, but you got to keep working so the next time they'll be in.
On his bicycle attempt
I just saw it and thought I can't bring it down so I'm just going to hit it. A couple weeks ago I got the same thing in practice and the same thing, it hit the post. I don't think those back kicks go in my favor so I don't know that I'm going to try another one.
What he offers to Sigi
I'm there. If Sigi needs me I'm there. I'll come off the bench. Obviously everybody wants to start but not everyone gets the chance to start. You got to keep working. We have a kind of off week. If I don't get playing time Saturday there's a Reserves game and I'll play in the Reserve game. As long as I can keep playing and it helps me out and helps the team out it doesn't matter if I get 90 minutes.
What's changed from last year to this
Last year I got in here towards the end of the season. I've been doing a lot better being here with the whole team and not just towards the end. I'm getting along with the guys and bonding some more. It helps. I'm just there trying to do my best and trying to help the team.
Notes: Mario Martinez received his P-1 Visa last week, but the Sounders decided a London-Honduras-Seattle-San Jose-Seattle-Miami-Seattle trip in a week wouldn't make sense. Sigi Schmid indicated that he should join the team on Friday.