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Originally published Wednesday, February 8, 2012 at 8:04 PM

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Sounders' starting lineup looks set already

The Sounders are also trying to finalize details on a Feb. 29 preseason game at CenturyLink Field.

Seattle Times staff reporter

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Swap in Steve Zakuani for Brad Evans and I'd say we have a pretty awesome starting 11. MORE
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Sounders FC played its first training game of the preseason Monday, and it turned out to be quite telling.

Seattle's starters in the 1-1 tie against rival Vancouver were what coach Sigi Schmid called a "fairly close" look at his first-choice lineup.

The Sounders still have four weeks left in the preseason before their CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinal against Mexico's Santos Laguna, but picking a starting lineup so soon indicates the team's urgency in preparation.

The starting group Monday consisted of goalkeeper Michael Gspurning; defenders Adam Johansson, Jeff Parke, Jhon Kennedy Hurtado and Leo Gonzalez; midfielders Osvaldo Alonso, Mauro Rosales, Brad Evans and Alvaro Fernandez; and forwards Fredy Montero and Mike Fucito.

While those are the leaders, and Schmid liked what he saw from them against the Whitecaps, there is still competition.

"Lamar Neagle is pushing to get into that group," the coach said. "Marc Burch is pushing, as well. ... (Sammy Ochoa) needs to push Fucito. So there are certain guys that are pushing, but I think all in all, if that was the Santos Laguna game, (that group that started Monday against Vancouver) would have probably been the lineup."

In the coming weeks, Schmid hopes to get that starting group and a couple top reserves in the rhythm of playing a high-intensity preseason game every Wednesday. The routine will start Feb. 15 in a training game against the Columbus Crew in Bradenton, Fla.

A week later, Seattle travels to Cancún, Mexico, for a closed-door scrimmage against Atlante FC of the Mexican Primera Division on Feb. 22.

The Sounders are also trying to finalize details on a Feb. 29 preseason game at CenturyLink Field.

The season opener against Santos Laguna in the CCL is March 7, also a Wednesday.

"We've just got to push in the next games in Florida," Schmid said. "We're really going to up their minutes in games fairly quickly."

RSL game moved to accommodate friendly

Sounders FC announced Wednesday that its July 18 home game against Real Salt Lake has been moved to Oct. 17.

Kickoff time and broadcast information will be determined later; the game was originally slated for a national audience on the NBC Sports Network.

The move was made to accommodate a summer friendly in Seattle, the details of which haven't been announced.

The Sounders were on the opposite end of this scenario last year when Philadelphia had to reschedule a July game due to its friendly against Real Madrid.

Notes

Harry Redknapp, a former player and assistant coach for the NASL Sounders in the 1970s, has emerged as a favorite to replace Fabio Capello as coach of England's national team. Capello resigned Wednesday. Redknapp, a London native, coaches third-place Tottenham in the English Premier League.

• Sounders FC draft pick Abdul Aman, who was released earlier in camp, is seeking a sixth year of college eligibility from the NCAA, according to Washington men's soccer coach Jamie Clark. "We certainly hope to have him back in a Husky uniform next year," Clark told GoHuskies.com.

• Midfielder Jason Banton, who was selected in the MLS Supplemental Draft, indicated on Twitter Tuesday night that he has been cut from training camp.

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

On Twitter @joshuamayers

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