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Originally published Monday, July 23, 2012 at 8:06 PM

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Sounders FC's Alvaro Fernandez not worried by loan rumors

Midfielder has been subject of reports that he could go on loan to Colombian club Deportivo Cali, the former club of Sounders teammates Fredy Montero and Jhon Kennedy Hurtado.

Seattle Times staff reporter

Saturday

Sounders FC @ Colorado, 6 p.m., KONG

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While many Sounders FC fans have been longing for a high-profile midseason addition, most of the chatter surrounding the team recently has centered on a potential departure.

For the past week, reports out of South America have midfielder Alvaro Fernandez possibly going out on loan to Colombian club Deportivo Cali.

Sounders officials have dismissed the reports as "rumors."

Fernandez, one of Seattle's three designated players, appears unfazed amid suggestions he might be on the way out.

"This isn't anything new," he said through an interpreter. "I've been a professional soccer player for a while and there are always going to be rumors about this team or that team. But I'm really happy playing here in Seattle. I love the city. I love this team, and if something comes along that's great for everybody, then we'll look at it. But right now I'm just happy and focused on playing for the Sounders."

Fernandez, who has been linked to various teams before, said he often learns about transfer talk on the Internet and leaves that business up to his agent. The latest reports, however, said he could join Deportivo Cali, the former club of Sounders teammates Fredy Montero and Jhon Kennedy Hurtado, later this week.

If part of a midseason shake-up for the Sounders, it will have to happen soon. The monthlong MLS transfer window, which marks the period teams can sign international players, closes Friday.

Last summer, Seattle struck out in its attempt to land a DP forward, and general manager Adrian Hanauer has stated that a big addition this year — perhaps German midfielder Christian Tiffert, a confirmed target of the Sounders — would have to come at the cost of a big subtraction.

Fernandez is only just starting to produce to the expectations of a DP after going without a goal through the team's first 18 MLS games. Nicknamed "El Flaco" for his slender build, the 26-year-old Uruguayan has responded by scoring in back-to-back games.

The surge has impressed coach Sigi Schmid and "not just the goals."

"He's doing a better job of keeping possession of the ball, which is important," Schmid said. "He's also doing a better job of making sure he gets goal-side defensively — that he reacts a little bit sooner and quicker — and I think that's helped our defending as well."

Fernandez attributed the long-awaited goals to a turn of luck, "because I've been working hard all season."

NOTES

• Goalkeeper Michael Gspurning (hip), and midfielders Brad Evans (knee), Cordell Cato (knee) and Alex Caskey (hamstring) all completed Monday's full practice. Evans still has a little knee swelling, but Schmid said "all those guys are OK."

• The Sounders FC U-23s advanced to the PDL Final Four after a 2-0 win over the Ventura County Fusion on Sunday in the Western Conference final. Seattle plays at FC London (Ontario) in a national semifinal at 4:30 p.m. Saturday.

• The Sounders Women saw their season end Sunday with a 1-0 loss to the Pali Blues in the Western Conference final of the W-League playoffs. On Monday, defender Stephanie Cox and midfielder Veronica Perez were named to the all-conference team.

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