Today's practice was generally a light affair that concentrated on ball movement across wide spaces and finishing into one of three mini-goals. Christian Tiffert went through a very light session as he still carries the minor injury from the win over Chivas USA. David Estrada was back in full practice while Osvaldo Alonso and Mauro Rosales were protected. Tiffert, Alonso and Rosales are expected to be available on Saturday for the Cascadia Cup. Duran was on a bike while Sodade is running but not practicing. George Ogararu and Darwin Jones were both at practice in nameless jerseys.
The Cascadia Cup meant that the Brian Schmetzer and Zach Scott were primary interview targets. Scott confirmed that he is in fact on Twitter. He stumbled on it for a discount on Clear Braces (no word on who for) and he's stumbling into how to use it. He's never used any social media before, but will lean on Evans for some guidance. But one thing is clear - Zach Scott is a Sounder.
Sounder at Heart asked Scott about his most memorable moment in the Cascadia Rivalry. His answer is a demonstration of the greatness of the rivalry, as well as how far we in Seattle have come in his decade with the team.
"One of my most vivid memories is my first year in 2002 going down and playing at PGE Park. At that time we were playing at Memorial Stadium so we got maybe 3000 fans and to get to be in front of I think they got 12,000 fans that game was just a surreal moment and one of the highlights of my career just seeing that many people watching soccer. That was my first really big soccer experience."
Asked about if his PK in the Open Cup was a big deal
"...I don't even consider that big time."
He also talked about being the most hated man in Portland. "That's fine with me. We're just out there to win games not make friends."
It's Cascadia Cup. Sure, it's an NBC game, the first time for MLS on broadcast TV since 2008. Guess what, neither Scott nor Sigi Schmid think that matters.
"We try not worry about it that way," Schmid said. "The game means a lot to us because the Cascadia Cup is important to us and also right now we're six points behind San Jose and we want to put ourselves in a position that if they slip that we can close that gap. It's important for us for the points and because of the Cascadia Cup."
Schmid also addressed the upcoming roster freeze deadline and the Marcus Tracy lottery. The team hasn't decided yet on the Lottery, but "We're looking at a bunch of things. Right now we'll see what happens. Sometimes those things happen for you, sometimes they don't. We'll know by Friday," Sigi explained.
If there's one thing that's true with MLS rosters, it's that they always change.
Eddie Johnson also talked today. We'll get more into that later, but here's his comment on the Cascadia Cup and if the hate coming down in the Glass House can motivate him.
"That's how it is in Europe. You go play derby games and you've got little five year olds flicking you off when you go to the stadium. It just goes to show you the passion and how much it means to the fans as well as the players. When we put on that jersey this weekend it's do or die mentality. We want to leave there with something. We don't want to leave anything ... This is like our Super Bowl. This is a Super Bowl for them too. We're looking forward to it."
It's Cascadia Cup time. Not Hate Portland Week, but a week when the rivalry between these two fair and not as fair cities/villages ratchets up to it's highest level. A game on national TV to feature the greatness that is Cascadia, a region that is defined by the mountains, ocean, rivers and forests that color our daily lives. A region defined by our passion for soccer and the long history that we've embraced.