The team poses with retiring Seattle Times columnist Steve Kelley, who was presented a jersey following training. - Liviu Bird
Seattle Sounders FC convened on the grass field at Starfire for one final session before catching a flight to Phoenix and making the short drive to Casa Grande to begin its first phase of training away from the city.
TUKWILA — After a hard day on Monday and with travel looming, Seattle Sounders FC had a relatively low-key training session on Tuesday. The session itself didn't last longer than an hour and 15 minutes.
It began with a light jog and stretch, followed by partner passing exercises. A larger passing pattern came next, followed by some small-sided games and finishing work.
The team split into two groups for the games, each playing six-on-five. The starters and rotational players mostly played on one field, while the rookies and back-ups played on the other — although there were some outliers in both groups, so the teams weren't as hierarchically based as in previous sessions.
Training had an overall light tempo, with a lot of breaks during the game for water and coaching points. The crossing and finishing involved very little fitness, and even the sprint work at the end was less than strenuous, with a full lap's recovery jog in between each full-field sprint.
There was no need to go too hard today; the real hard work begins when the team lands in the desert.
- Head coach Sigi Schmid said Patrick Ianni will be out four to six weeks with a fracture in his right foot sustained during a jump test. He was in a boot and on crutches. Lamar Neagle did some work off to the side during the small-sided games, as he got in late last night. Trialist Phillip Lund also jogged laps around the field during the games.
- Everybody in camp right now will travel to Casa Grande, Schmid said, and one or two new trialists could join the team there. The club is close to finalizing a friendly against a Mexican team while they're down there.
- Third-string goalkeeper Josh Ford played well, as he has all of preseason so far, making several outstanding saves and looking fit and sharp. He should challenge Marcus Hahnemann for minutes in non-league games in his first full season (assuming he doesn't pick up another injury).
- Christian Tiffert also looked sharp on the ball, with a good first touch. He strung some skillful passes to set teammates up nicely during the small-sided games.
- Trialist Travis Bowen flew in on Babayele Sodade at one point, leaving the Canadian on the turf momentarily. It was a reminder that, even on a light day, players are competing hard for roster spots and playing time. Sodade showed no ill effects from the poorly timed tackle.
- In a nice gesture, head coach Sigi Schmid and the team presented retiring Seattle Times columnist Steve Kelley with his own jersey after practice (see photo above), and senior vice president Gary Wright had some nice things to say about Kelley's soccer writing in his 30 years on the job.