The Seattle Sounders returned to training Saturday, seven days into a three-week break in their Major League Soccer schedule.
The Sounders worked lightly at Starfire Sports Complex, beginning preparations for their U.S. Open Cup match there Wednesday against amateur club PSA Elite.
“We were OK,” coach Sigi Schmid said. “We wanted to get some ball work in, a little bit of a longer warm-up, get some running at the end just to see where our fitness is.”
The league-leading Sounders last played June 7 at Chicago, and they return to MLS play June 28 at D.C. United. But if the Sounders win Wednesday, they will end up playing two Open Cup matches during the World Cup break.
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Still, Schmid said, even those six days off were useful. And certain players who have seen a lot of action and who aren’t expected to play in the Open Cup match were given more time off.
“That’s why we’re not all back yet,” Schmid said. “… It would have been nice to have been able to give that to all the guys, but with the game coming up Wednesday we couldn’t afford to do that.”
One of the players still away is goals co-leader Obafemi Martins, who received a red card at Chicago. That makes him ineligible for Seattle’s next league match, but it has no affect on Open Cup competition. Schmid said he had promised Martins the extra time, and didn’t want to alter those plans.
Meanwhile, Schmid spent part of his break like so many other soccer fans: watching the early games of the World Cup.
“It’s been a very much more offensive World Cup up to this stage than sometimes happens in the first games,” he said. “A lot of times in the early group games teams sit back and just look to maybe get out of there with a tie. But I think maybe because of … the weather (mostly warm and dry) or maybe everybody’s caught up in the carnival atmosphere a little bit, but they’ve all gone a little more offensive.”
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