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Sounders feel ready for regular-season opener vs. LAFC

Sounders satisfied with the work they've put in during preseason.

Last Updated
2 min read

RENTON – After nearly six weeks of training and more than 500 minutes of preseason action, the Seattle Sounders will kick off their 2024 campaign against the same opponent that ended their 2023 on Saturday. Cristian Roldan says the Sounders are as ready as they’ve ever been.

“Honestly, I’m feeling beter than most years because we’ve played a couple of 90-minute games,” Roldan said. “We’ve been together for quite some time, guys came in fit, we have some knocks but we’ve had a pretty healthy group through preseason. Now it’s just a matter of shaking off that rust. We know we have such a deep roster we can rely on a lot of guys.”

It might seem a little counter-intuitive to suggest that the first game of the season can be seen as a genuine measuring stick, but Roldan admitted that's exactly what it is. The Sounders are 0-6-1 in the regular season on the road against LAFC, but 5-7-3 against them overall.

"It’s always a big test," Roldan said about facing LAFC. "We see ourselves as one of the clubs that compete year in and year out, and LAFC is one of those clubs, too. It’s easy to get motivated for this game and it helps that we’ve had our system in place for a couple of years so hopefully that rust goes away pretty quick. We’re in a good spot but LAFC is a good test."

The biggest area of emphasis this preseason has been on finishing, something the Sounders were unable to do in their 1-0 loss to LAFC in the Western Conference semifinals last year. Schmetzer said he was satisfied with the work and preparation that's gone into addressing that but understands to proof will be on the field.

"We think we’ve done a good job," Schmetzer said. "We’ve worked on it a lot. Guys will have to execute and make plays. We’re still tweaking some things."

Health update

The Sounders were missing a few key contributors at Wednesday's training session. Yeimar Gomez Andrade will almost certainly not feature against LAFC as he still hasn't resumed full training since rejoining the team after they got back from Spain. Also missing were goalkeeper Stefan Frei and midfielder João Paulo, who have been in and out of outdoor training in recent weeks.

"They have some knocks, they are more experienced so we have to be careful," Sounders head coach Brian Schmetzer said without committing to their availability either way. "The training staff has done a great job of making sure each player has a plan. We’ll have inside days and outside days, guys pick up little knocks here and there. It’s way too early in the season for me to put someone out there and risk injury."