The Seattle Sounders returned to practice for the first time since their US Open Cup Semifinal win over FC Dallas. Extraordinary weather welcomed them back to the packed Starfire Sports Complex (Labor Day Youth Cup, as well as Sounders pre-Academy game three). The primary concern of practice were 9 a side scrimmages of a 1st, 2nd and 3rd team with the one not playing doing finishing drills on the far field. The most notable not-first teamer was Kasey Keller, but that is certainly so that the offense of the first team would have to beat the best keeper possible. There is a distinct possibility that the biggest news was Roger Levesque's haircut.
While most of the team took time off (most notably Fredy Montero's trip to Disneyland), and a few to Vegas (according to Sigi), the recent additions of Amadou Sanyang and Sammy Ochoa did not get time off as Sigi had specific things for them to work on;
They really didn't have a break. They sort of joined us more recently so they actually trained Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and did some fitness work as well on one of the two days on the weekend.
He also notes that the connections of Bob Bradley to either the Egypt job or to Santos Laguna is a positive for all American coaches;
It is good that American coaches are being considered. It is good for the US. While each team has to look at what their needs are, I think in the past clubs felt that if you were an American coach you weren't on par with a coach coming from Holland or Argentina or some place like that. I think that the best coaches in our country can coach. Coaching is coaching, no matter what language it's in, no matter what country it is. It is great if he gets that opportunity it will be tremendous, because it will mean that we have coaches that can coach beyond the United States.
Mauro Rosales was a huge topic throughout practice as his MVP candidacy and near certain Newcomer of Year award. We talked about his connection with Dario Sala, thoughts on the League and whether he can win an award or two.
SaH: When you took the chance to play here it was an opportunity to prove you had more left in the tank than some people thought. How has that gone for you?
Rosales: What I expected to do with this team, this great team, I think this was a good point for me to come to a very good players. The future is perfect. I'm just thinking of playing football and having fun.
SaH: Dario Sala and you have a relationship, how did he convince you to give Major League Soccer a try?
Rosales: For those that don't know, he and I played together in the past. When I was in Mexico with a contract signed and no expectation to play, because we had so many foreign guys so I would have to wait to play until June. I didn't want to wait too long to play. He said "why don't you try MLS? I have a very good relationship with some people in MLS. It is a good league." I had heard already from other people before him that very important players come here and do well, and it is a very competitive league. And I say "why not?" He then pushed me to this team. I'm very happy that Adrian and Chris Henderson decided to give me a chance for the coach and the staff to bring me here.
SaH: As the team heads into the final stretch before the playoffs fans and media members start looking at individual awards. There is one called the Newcomer of the Year for a professional who just joined the league and you seem to be a favorite for that. What would it mean to get an award recognizing your individual ability?
Rosales: I'm very glad the people think of me for this kind of award because it is my first year here. But it is always coming behind all the awards [for the team]. I'm very happy that in all the games we can do something extra. We have to think about how we play as a group and become more important players for the team.
Mauro is also getting respect in the MVP vote, something which will be apparent as SB Nation's MLS bloggers start to preview the end of season awards this week.