Sounders look to stay unbeaten in 2012 preseason
Sounders FC plays its final preseason road game, behind closed doors, Wednesday against Mexico's Atlante FC at 4 p.m.
Seattle Times staff reporter
Santos Laguna @ Sounders, CONCACAF quarters, 7 p.m.
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Every detail helps.
So with the start of Sounders FC's important season-opening series against Mexico's Santos Laguna just two weeks away, coach Sigi Schmid is hopeful that Wednesday's 4 p.m. preseason road game at Atlante FC of the Mexican Primera Division will help preparation in multiple ways.
First is the grass. Schmid claims that natural fields are maintained differently in Mexico, and playing on one before Seattle's CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinal should make the team more comfortable during its road leg against Santos Laguna.
Next is the Mexican style of play. The Sounders haven't been able to experience that against preseason opponents that have included teams in MLS, lower leagues and college.
Last is the travel routine. Getting used to flying in on Tuesday before a road game on Wednesday will serve useful in two weeks, especially for the new players.
"So from all those aspects, it's a good little dry run for going into Santos," said Schmid, whose team arrived in Cancún, Mexico, on Tuesday.
Wednesday's game will be played behind closed doors and no live updates will be available. When asked if playing in front of away fans would have been beneficial, Schmid said these types of games don't usually draw large crowds.
Controlling the environment provides other advantages, as well.
"I think it increases the likelihood we're going to be playing their legitimate reserves instead of playing a lot of their youth players," said Schmid. "By having it be a closed-door game, it's better for them in terms of what they want to do with their team, and I think it gives us a better opportunity to play a good opponent."
Sounders FC is 3-0-2 this preseason, having earned three wins in a row in Florida. Against various levels of competition, Seattle has averaged 2.4 goals per game, outscored opponents 12-2 and earned three straight shutouts.
Wednesday marks the final preseason road game for Sounders FC. Seattle will host Mexico's Jaguares de Chiapas for one last tuneup on Feb. 29 at CenturyLink Field, heading into the CCL series against Santos Laguna, which starts March 7.
• Indications are that defender/midfielder Amadou Sanyang won't play for Sounders FC this season. The 20-year-old reserve, who signed last July, didn't travel with the team and has returned to Seattle. Sounders officials expect to discuss options with Sanyang when they return from Mexico, but one report suggests Sanyang could join training with the Chicago Fire as soon as Wednesday.
• Newly acquired forward Eddie Johnson traveled with the team to Cancún, but his availability Wednesday is uncertain after tweaking his hamstring in Sunday's training game. Schmid said Steve Zakuani (leg) and Michael Tetteh (hamstring) didn't make the trip as they continue to recover from injuries.
• The 2012 MLS Reserve League schedule was released Monday, and Sounders FC will play 10 games from March to September. Seattle will host five home games — April 10 vs. Portland, June 1 vs. Vancouver, Aug. 6 vs. Los Angeles, Sept. 9 vs. Chivas USA and Sept. 25 vs. San Jose — at the Starfire Sports Campus in Tukwila. Admission is free, but a $5 donation is suggested.
Joshua Mayers: 206-464-3184 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
On Twitter @joshuamayers