Going 90 in a Reserve game is not new for Patrick Ianni. What was new was playing with a backline he hardly knows and finally having a foot behave as he expects it to on the pitch. Ianni chatted with Sounder at Heart about his hopeful return to Seattle Sounders FC First Team action.
You went 90 in a Reserve Game again last Sunday. How did that feel?
It felt good, I've been playing for a couple months now, but I'm just starting to get back my fitness and the confidence in making certain moves with my foot that wasn't quite there. It felt really good to get a good solid 90 minutes under my belt. I'm looking forward to jumping into the First Team, hopefully soon.
What was it like playing with so many youngsters?
I thought the guys played really well. I've learned over the years that you have to be careful with expectations going into those games and you sometimes you get a little frustrated when the play is not up to First Team standard, but I thought the guys played well. I thought Sean played well, Dylan played well, the Seth kid played well and then Ashani came in and did solid too. It was a pleasure to play with the guys. I thought the young guys from the Academy - Duncan and Henry - held their own.
How does a match with so many youngsters help you lead?
I just play my game. I don't try to do anything different, maybe give a little extra direction, but I don't want overwhelm guys. I just try to lead by example. You can talk all you want, but guys want to gain confidence based on what that guy [their teammate] is doing. I took that role a little bit more, win my duels and hope that guys will follow that and I think they did. It was unfortunate that they got three kind of one-on-one goals, but I thought overall we played well and knocked the ball around, that's tough to do on that small field. We got a rhythm to the game which was nice.
Does a more comfortable foot mean that you are ready for first team action?
This last game really gave me confidence to step in now. I mentally was ready the whole time. I think sometimes you need the motivation to get into a game. Even the motivation of 'hey I'm being looked at' that was the case this last week and I thought I was going to get into the game against Colorado. Just that taste of it made me excited for the Reserve Game knowing that I'm on the cusp of getting back in. It's been a lot of hard work. It's taught me a lot of patience just to kind of keep grinding. Sometimes, in our culture, you want it to be handed back to you, you know? But I want to work for it, and I realized that I need to keep pushing. It will come. I just need to keep that faith, that's kind of where my head's at. It's cleared my brain to have a good game Sunday and keep going now.