The Seattle Sounders returned to the practice field at Starfire on Friday none the worse for wear after an extended Colorado road trip, but the feeling after enduring extra time in Denver was less than happy—especially since they didn’t get the chance to play a game.
There was an increasing chance that the game versus the Colorado Rapids was going to be cancelled as the team departed on Tuesday, but the timing of the decision to cancel the game after the team had departed Seattle left a sour taste in the Sounders’ mouth, especially given the difficulties endured trying to get back home.
“They were grumpy,” Sounders Coach Brian Schmetzer said of the team as they found out about the cancellation. “When we got the news after we landed that the game was being cancelled, Grant Clark was on high alert trying to get a charter flight. That charter flight we had scheduled for Wednesday morning actually got cancelled because of the weather so we had to spend an additional night there.”
Sources indicated a decision to cancel the game was not finalized until after the Sounders had departed (in fact, those discussions between MLS, Rapids and Sounders were ongoing as the team was in flight). The League did authorize the Sounders’ use of a charter flight to return home at League expense, though it was ultimately cancelled because of the weather conditions.
“Frustrating, [but] those things are out of the control of the players,” midfielder Cristian Roldan said. “We try to prepare for a game and try to do our part to keep this momentum going. In the end, you’re a professional, you prepare for these games, but [it’s] frustrating you have to travel.”
“These decisions are not made very easily; the league has to bless them, there has to be available dates for both sides,” Schmetzer said. “For those guys [the players], it’s ‘why didn’t we know before we took off?’ I even had some of those sentiments. But I understand the bigger picture, and the struggles we had getting a last-minute charter.”
The extra time in Denver did not overly impact the team’s preparations for the weekend’s game versus Toronto, as they were at least able to train Wednesday. “We did gym sessions, we had a training session in an indoor facility in Denver, so the physical preparation was fine,” Schmetzer said. “It’s just [that] those guys were not happy they had to stay in Denver and actually not get to play a game.”
The team appears to be fully healthy for the weekend’s game versus Toronto, extended travel notwithstanding. “Everybody will be available,” Schmetzer said.