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Originally published Monday, March 29, 2010 at 5:30 PM

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Sounders FC greets veteran Pat Noonan

Unsigned forward/midfielder, who was released by Colorado last week, will compete as trialist in Sounders FC camp.

Seattle Times staff reporter

Saturday

New York Red Bulls @ Sounders FC, 7:30 p.m.

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TUKWILA — The driving wind and freezing rain were hardly a warm welcome to the Pacific Northwest.

New Sounders FC trialist Pat Noonan was unbothered, however, after a cold and wet first practice with the team Monday at the Starfire Sports Complex.

Noonan, a longtime Major League Soccer player, was released by Colorado last week. The 29-year-old Missouri native said being out of work was simply a waiting game until Seattle showed interest.

A waiting game he was happy to end.

"I didn't want to pass up the opportunity to come to this organization," said Noonan, who is unsigned. "So far, it's been exactly what I expected. ... Hopefully I can come in and do something to catch their eye."

Noonan is most known by MLS fans for his time spent with the New England Revolution from 2003-08, but he has also played for the Columbus Crew and most recently the Rapids. Additionally, he has played in Europe with Norwegian club Aalesunds FK and for the U.S. men's national team.

Sounders FC coach Sigi Schmid, who coached Noonan in Columbus during the 2008 season, said the forward/midfielder could provide depth, versatility and experience if he signs with the team.

Noonan's veteran leadership, Schmid said, would also help the young players on offense.

"It just rounds out the team a little bit better, if we go that direction," Schmid said. "We haven't made that decision yet."

For Noonan, there were plenty of familiar faces on his first day with the Sounders. He played with Brad Evans in Columbus, and James Riley was a teammate in New England.

And despite being the new guy in town, Noonan said he is plenty familiar with the fan support and the achievements of the team in Seattle.

"With the fans, you know it's first class," Noonan said. "They're very passionate, which is great. That's what you want. So you're going into these games knowing there's something on the line every time you step on the field.

"In terms of the players, obviously they're a very solid team, with a lot of depth and a lot of talent. That's something when you go out and train that you look forward to, because you know you're going to be pushed. It's got to be sharp."

Fucito makes

his MLS debut

Last week was a good one for Michael Fucito.

The young forward from Harvard was officially signed Wednesday by Sounders FC. He then made the game-day roster for the home opener a day later against Philadelphia, when he made his MLS debut in the 74th minute.

"It was very exciting," said Fucito, who celebrated his 24th birthday Monday. "I'm glad I got the opportunity. ... I definitely had some butterflies, but once you get on the field, they kind of go away."

Notes

• League commissioner Don Garber is expected to announce Tuesday that the 2010 MLS Cup will be held at Toronto's BMO Field.

Freddie Ljungberg was not in training Monday as the forward recovers from an injury to his backside that forced to him to leave the Philadelphia game in the 60th minute. Schmid said Ljungberg's status is uncertain for Saturday's game.

• Forward/midfielder Nate Jaqua (injury) and defender Jeff Parke, who was receiving an award in New York over the weekend, were also not in training.

Joshua Mayers: 206-464-3184 or jmayers@seattletimes.com

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