MLS Soccer

Reserve League to start for Sounders

Sounders FC is considered one of the deepest clubs in Major League Soccer.

That could come in handy today when the MLS Reserve League season opens in Vancouver, B.C.

“A lot of our success last year was due to the fact that we were so deep,” said Sounders assistant coach Ezra Hendrickson, whose duties include coaching the reserves. “From week to week it changes – injuries, call-ups, maybe we just want to rest guys – the team changes. So for me as coach of the reserve team, it’s all about managing the guys that I have. It helps that we’re so deep. Sometimes I look at the reserve team and think they can play with some teams in the league.”

Reserves from the Sounders and Whitecaps will meet this morning at 11 at the University of British Columbia.

“It’s good to get the reserve league started again,” Hendrickson said. “It serves a group of guys who are not getting much time on Saturday nights or guys who maybe are coming off injuries to get games in and stay sharp. We’re kind of undermanned right now. With injuries, and international call-ups with Babayele (Sodade) and (Cordell) Cato, we only have eight guys. But we’re able to fill in with academy kids, and that’s part of their development. But the guys have been waiting, and now they get their chance.”

The season opens with something of a grudge match for the Sounders reserves, who went 8-1-1 in 2011.

“Vancouver was the only team that beat us last year,” Hendrickson said. “That’s what the guys have been talking about all week. They’re ready. We have some injuries, so we’re a little bit on the mend, but we’re going up there with the intention of starting off the season just as well.”

The reserve team’s home opener is April 10, when Portland visits Starfire Sports Stadium.

ADDED TIME

Coach Sigi Schmid says Houston coach Dominic Kinnear called him Saturday to apologize for Dynamo midfielder Colin Clark’s use of a gay slur against a ball boy during Friday’s game. “In terms of what happens now with regard to Clark – if there’s anything – that’s a league decision,” Schmid said. “But certainly it’s not the kind of behavior that we want to see from any of the players in our league.”

Schmid said he appointed Brad Evans as captain for the Houston game, but told him he could do whatever he wanted with the honor. Evans passed it along to Fredy Montero.

The club is awaiting results on a magnetic resonance imaging exam performed on Sodade, who suffered a knee injury Saturday while playing with Canada’s Olympic-qualifying team. “It probably doesn’t look real good right now,” Schmid said.

The Sounders (2-0-0) return to MLS action Saturday, when the San Jose Earthquakes (2-1-0) visit CenturyLink Field.

Don Ruiz, 253-597-8808

don.ruiz@thenewstribune.com

blog.thenewstribune.com/soccer

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