After returning from Southern California the Seattle Sounders focus is on Club America and the shift to their version of the 4-3-3. This means that while most teams focused on roster decisions at this point of preseason Sigi Schmid and his assistants are concentrating on the XI and 18 for a near must-win on Tuesday.
Today, after warmups, they played 11 v 11 with the first team facing the second team, minus those players working on the side. That first XI looked exactly as it did when it crushed the Galaxy. Charlie Lyon started in goal with the second side while the healthy Tyler Miller worked with Tom Dutra on the side. From left to right at forward were Aaron Kovar, Victor Mansaray and Darwin Jones (Dar and Vic switched at times). In the midfield trialist Nathan Sturgis played the space that Ivanschitz would, with draftee Zach Mathers in Friberg's role and Cristian Roldan taking over for Alonso. The backline was Dylan Remick, Roberto Chen, Zach Scott, and Oniel Fisher.
The list of injured players working on the side at some level is fairly long. Some may be able to play at this point and working on fitness. Only Roman Torres did not work with a ball. Jordan Schweitzer was not outside at all.
Michael Farfan, Jimmy Ockford, Andy Craven, S2's Oalex Anderson, S2's Myron Samuel, and draftee Tony Alfaro all worked on the side. All had the ball at their feet at some point and participated in various drills.
Erik Friberg says that there are two ways the central midfielders played this preseason, one of which he is quite familiar with playing in the past.
"It depends how we play," he told Sounder at Heart, "but if we play like we did against LA, it's not that different. If we play 2 deeper, Andreas in front of me and Ozzie, I'll say that's not changed that much from what I'm used to like the 4231 or 4213 or whatever- call it whatever you want, but I think it's not that different from what I'm used to playing. But if we play like a 433, a little bit like Andreas, Ozzie and me, that's more new for me I think. I mean last game we had a good game and I hope we continue to play good."
Despite losing Oba, which still isn't official, controlling owner Adrian Hanauer told the media that Sounders FC are in the CCL to win.
Even with top-seeded Club America already in season, Hanauer says "we're gonna try and win" CCL: "We think we have a very good squad."— Don Ruiz (@donruiztnt) February 20, 2016
During the inter-squad scrimmage players were going hard. Nelson Haedo Valdez tried a wicked side volley and went to ground several times trying to win the ball in the attacking end. Clint Dempsey worked quite wide, attacking at an angle. Jordan Morris and Valdez tended to make runs to the same space, but from different angles.