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Practice Notes: New face, old foe

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Xavier Arreaga joins Sounders training.

TUKWILA, Wash. — As the news of Chad Marshall’s retirement subsides, the Seattle Sounders got back to practice on Thrusday and there was a new arrival: centerback Xavier Arreaga. The newest signing was in training, having flown in Wednesday evening. Coach Brian Schmetzer was pleased with what he saw in the Ecuadorian’s first practice, though he doesn’t feel the need to rush the player into the rotation.

“He’s got to earn that spot No. 1,” Schmetzer said. “He’s been following the fitness protocol that Damian [Roden] sent to him so he might be close to playing shape but Roman [Torres] and Kim [Kee-Hee] have done well; we’ll see how rotation through these next two games go.”

That said, Arreaga is an option for this weekend’s game versus Sporting Kansas City. “As long as everything is done, I expect him to be available for selection, and if we select him, he’s going to Kansas City,” he said.

As for the player himself, Arreaga said he was excited to join the team.

“It’s a very competitive team, always fighting for the playoffs, always contending for titles,” he said. “It’s a very important team in this country and all influenced my decision.”

Arreaga also said he doesn’t expect it to be too long before he is fit for games. “I’ve been in the competitive rhythm in my country league; I stopped only for a week and a half,” he said. “So I’m getting to the point where the coach can count on me and I’ll be available to the group.”

Turning to Sporting Kansas City specifically, Schmetzer said in no uncertain terms that the team will not take them lightly, even given the injury issues they are facing. SKC has had upwards of 10 players missing from recent games, and has had to use the MLS hardship waiver to call up USL players to fill out their bench.

“Makes them a dangerous team, because they have some talented players even though they’re missing a bunch,” he said. “We expect them to be on the front foot, do all the things that Peter [Vermes] likes to do and we’ll try to counter that.”

The Sounders’ injury situation looks a bit better. Gustav Svensson made it through another training session with no apparent issues, and assuming no setbacks, will be available for selection Sunday. Victor Rodriguez trained on the side again and there has been no change in his “day-to-day” status. Jordan Morris has already been ruled out.