The Seattle Sounders kept things light at today's practice for the majority of players involved in Wednesday's match against the Vancouver Whitecaps, keeping the likes of Brad Evans and Lamar Neagle indoors while the rest of the squad went through normal practice routines. Among those practicing outside in today's ideal weather were forwards Clint Dempsey and Obafemi Martins, midfielder Osvaldo Alonso, and defender Zach Scott. Schmid lamented the difficulty of practicing the day after such a late match (kickoff was at 7:00 PST), "the day after a game is never a great day to train, and with a late game it's hard to fall asleep afterwards. But I was happy with what we did, with the effort. Just being closer to getting healthy. Now it's just a matter of getting fit."
Sounders manager Sigi Schmid noted after practice that Alonso went through today's session with no trouble at all, hinting that he'll be on the teamsheet come Sunday's match in Kansas City. It's the return of players like Alonso that have helped the Sounders move up the table and increase their chances of making the MLS Cup Playoffs. His tenacious attitude, breathless work rate, and ability to protect the back four will be invaluable as the Sounders try to close out the regular season over the next few weeks.
Schmid noted that Thomas and Dylan Remick were not injured, and attributed their lack of playing time to the depth the squad has at the moment.
As for the weekend's match at Sporting KC, Schmid was candid in identifying the advantages the Sounders might have for what is often a tough game on the road. "Obviously they took a couple of yellow cards in the last game. Besler, so he’s out; Feilhaber tried really hard to get his yellow and got his yellow at the end, so he’s out. Not sure if he was going to play that game anyway."
Despite the loss of two of Sporting KC's best players, Schmid also admitted that it will be a tough game nonetheless, "the group they are going to put out on the field is going to be very, very competitive."
Rather than focus on Sporting KC and that squad's issues, Schmid chose to focus on his own team and how they'll handle this weekend's match and beyond. "It's about us continuing to play well. It's about us continuing to feel confident and growing our confidence in each other. We want to get to the playoffs, we want to get those points. We know that in the playoffs we'll probably have to play on the road. It's all about us right now."
Injuries played a big part in the Sounders' mid-season difficulties, and Schmid says that such troubles obscured the team's true qualities that are finally coming to light, "I always felt we had a good team, it was just a matter of all the injuries. When you have six out of eleven starters out of your lineup, it makes it tough to play. I always felt that when we got those people back out on the park and back into training, it raises the level of training. Better training means you play better in your games."