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Cristian Roldan plays in Sounders scrimmage

Sounders midfielder among the group who played in intrasquad scrimmage on Friday.

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2 min read
Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

TUKWILA, Wash. – The Seattle Sounders took advantage of their bye week to play a spirited full-sided game on Friday, mixing the group between the normal starters and reserves and making up the numbers with a few Tacoma Defiance and Academy players.

Among the goal-scorers were Héber, Cristian Roldan, Obed Vargas and Nicolás Lodeiro. The match was competitive enough that Stefan Frei joined the attack on what turned out to be one of the scrimmage’s final plays.

“It just shows the team still has life in it, they aren’t quitting,” Sounders head coach Brian Schmetzer said. “We’ve had some tough moments but it’s not from lack of effort.”

Roldan being a full participant in the scrimmage was particularly notable as it was the closest he’s come to playing in an actual match since suffering his second concussion of the season on July 22. The Sounders had been hopeful that he’d be able to return before the Portland Timbers match. Instead he spent part of last week visiting with specialists in Detroit to better understand his symptoms.

“The only thing I can say on that is there was a simultaneous diagnosis,” Schmetzer said, alluding to the possibility that some of Roldan’s symptoms weren’t directly related to the concussion. “We’re working through all that. He’s really close.”

Schmetzer wasn’t quite ready to rule out the possibility that Roldan could be shelved for the season, but did sound reasonably optimistic that his midfielder would at least play again this season and said he was overall pleased with how the Sounders have handled the situation.

“From Day 1, the team, my message to Cristian, internally, externally, was we’re being ultra careful because we understand concussions are a serious matter,” he said. “It’s just unfortunate that when we went to RSL that he got the second one so close to the first. I was very confident with the medical staff. The second one were being ultra cautious, which I think is a good thing.”

Youths to watch

One of the regular participants at training this week was Academy midfielder Snyder Brunell. The 16-year-old has already set an organization record for minutes played with Tacoma Defiance as an amateur, and now seems to be drawing the interest of the first-team coaching staff.

“Terrific upside,” Schmetzer said, also noting he was impressed by Academy centerback Shaun Brun. “I like the kid, he’s good.

“There are some good young kids coming up.”