Busy Sounders will play four games on training trip to Florida
The Sounders returned home Tuesday after nine productive days in Arizona and announced plans for five preseason training games in the next two weeks.
Seattle Times staff reporter
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After nine days in Arizona, the Sounders returned home Tuesday night in great shape and with a starting lineup nearly settled.
So what's next in Seattle's preseason plans?
First, the team will take a few days off to recover from a workout-heavy past week. Then, after a practice Friday, training camp goes to Bradenton, Fla., for 10 days beginning Saturday.
And to prepare for their season-opening CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinal against Mexico's Santos Laguna, the Sounders will load up with five training games in the next two weeks.
"There's only so much you can do because we can't replicate a league schedule," coach Sigi Schmid said on a conference call Tuesday. "What we've got to try to do is create some games that will replicate the intensity that (our players are) going to have as they go into that game with Santos Laguna."
Four of those upcoming training games will be in Florida, but the fifth is getting most of the attention. The Sounders will play a closed-door scrimmage against Atlante FC, a top Mexican Primera Division team, in Cancun on Feb. 22.
After five weeks in its regular season, Atlante (3-1-1) is tied for second place and has scored a league-high nine goals. The quality of competition should help Seattle prepare for its CCL opponent, Santos Laguna, which leads the Primera Division with a 4-1 record.
Sounders FC's four training games in Florida will be at the IMG Academy. Seattle plays Orlando City SC on Monday, followed by the Columbus Crew of MLS (Feb. 15), the U-17 U.S. men's national team (Feb. 16) and Florida Gulf Coast University (Feb. 19).
The Sounders are also trying to schedule a final exhibition game at home, possibly against another Mexican team, which would likely serve as the team's annual Community Shield match.
That game will be Feb. 29 at CenturyLink Field, according to event information already posted on Ticketmaster.
"I know (team officials are) in the process of finalizing those details," Schmid said of the prospective exhibition game, "so hopefully they'll be able to announce something soon and then the mystery will be gone for all of us."
• Mike Fucito's leg injury suffered in Monday's training game is not as bad as feared, Schmid said. The Sounders FC forward left the match against Vancouver after taking a cleat to the leg on a tackle by Whitecaps defender Martin Bonjour. The initial diagnosis was that Fucito had a puncture wound that might be at risk of infection, but Schmid said Tuesday the cut "wasn't that deep. ... It will get better each day."
• Midfielder Christian Sivebaek (knee) and defender Patrick Ianni (thigh) did not play Monday. Neither injury is believed to be serious.
• Forward Sammy Ochoa will likely train on his own Wednesday and Thursday. He missed a few days of camp in Arizona to be with his wife for the birth of their second child.
• The team will cut more players from training camp before going to Florida. Michael Tetteh, a second-year midfielder/defender, is expected to make the trip after missing training in Arizona with a hamstring injury. Thirty-nine players are in camp, and about 29 are expected to make the team.
Joshua Mayers: 206-464-3184 or firstname.lastname@example.org
On Twitter: @joshuamayers