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Sounders excited to close out preseason schedule

Sounders will face Sacramento Republic on Saturday.

Last Updated
2 min read

RENTON – The Seattle Sounders will wrap up their preseason schedule on Saturday when they play the USL Championship's Sacramento Republic at their Longacres training facility. The Republic were one of the USL's top teams, finishing with the second most regular-season points (64) and making it to the Western Conference finals, where they lost to eventual champions Phoenix Rising.

That will conclude a preseason that was relatively normal by recent standards. Unlike many previous preseasons, there was no work stoppage that delayed it or early competitive matches for which to prepare. The Republic will be the fourth opponent they've faced and like the three previous matchdays, this one will allow both teams to completely rotate their lineups after effectively playing a full game.

Goalkeeper Stefan Frei is confident the measured preseason will show itself in the Sounders' preparedness.

"Sometimes you need that to just take your time, focus on things, make sure you’re physically ready," he said. "We were able to work on a few new things, look at what worked last year and a couple things we wanted to improve on. You have time and you’re not rushed.

"That doesn’t mean we’ll be clicking and firing and playing our best footy on Day 1 – I don’t expect other teams to be there either – but I like the foundation we’ve created."

Different styles

Although the Sounders undeniably lost some experience from their goalkeeper ranks when Stefan Cleveland joined Austin FC, Frei said he remains as confident as ever in the talent of his backups. Unlike previous seasons, though, there's a bit more of a competition for the bench spot, with Andrew Thomas and Jacob Castro both in the running.

All three goalkeepers have distinct styles. Frei is certainly the most fundamentally sound, while Castro is the most physically imposing, with a massive wingspan that allows him to cover a lot of area. Thomas is probably the most athletic, though, and Frei described him as the most "explosive" of the trio.

Other notes

  • Nouhou and Pedro de la Vega appear to have fully rejoined training and will likely play against Republic, while Yeimar, Braudilio Rodrigues, Alex Roldan and Reed Baker-Whiting continue to train to the side.
  • Several new faces have been training with Defiance recently. Among them are former Academy player Burke Fahling, who most recently played for the Pittsburgh Riverhounds of the USL Championship.