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Rooney trains with Sounders; Fucito nears return

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Mike Fucito returned to full training today.
Mike Fucito returned to full training today.

Understandably, there's been a lot of interest in the news that John Rooney (Wayne's brother) was participating in Sounders training today. As such, there have been a lot of questions regarding the Sounders ability to sign him, especially considering they have an open roster slot due to Peter Vagenas being moved to the IR.

As far as I understand it, Rooney's presence in camp is part of a new tack MLS is taking with some international players. Traditionally, the only internationals brought into camp were higher-profile types on which teams already had discovery claims. Usually, the only kind of players that are in MLS camps but not on rosters are domestic and college players. If a team wants to sign one of those guys, they have to go through an allocation draft where every team would have an opportunity to put in a claim. The player would then go to whichever team had the highest allocation priority.

Apparently, MLS is bringing in a few international players that are of similar quality, and will also be put through allocation.

The short version of all this is that even if the Sounders wanted to sign him, he'd first have to go through allocation. In any case, I don't think he's the kind of player that would be a difference maker this year. Apparently, Rooney has had trouble finding a team in England and figured getting a little outside his brother's shadow would be a good thing. 

Of less interest from a headline perspective, but more so in a practical sense, was Mike Fucito returning to full training today. He had previously participated as a neutral, but as far as I know this was the first time he's been a full member of a scrimmage.

Fucito was sporting a sleeveless training top that showed off some guns that are about the size of my thigh. It definitely looks like he's been keeping in shape even if he hasn't been practicing. 

Fucito has been eligible to come off the IR since the Philadelphia match in late June, so he can be added as soon as the Sounders think he's fit.

The other bit of news to come out of practice today was my one-on-one interview with Adrian Hanauer. I'll have a full post about our discussion, so you can consider this a bit of a teaser. Mainly we talked about CCL and how the Sounders are constructed.

"We knew coming into this year that we were going to be playing in multiple tournaments," Hanauer said when asked about constructing a team for depth as much as top-end talent. "Yes, it was strategic but we always want quality in depth. That will never change. Certainly there are challenges with the way the roster and salary cap rules work with the league and we do the best we can. We are pretty deep and we have good quality, especially given that we still have guys on IR. Hopefully that will be reflected in our abilities in Champions League, Open Cup and league."