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Originally published Thursday, February 14, 2013 at 6:07 PM

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Sounders want to sign defender Djimi Traore

The Sounders are in contract talks with accomplished veteran Djimi Traore, who could fill a need at center back.

Seattle Times staff reporter

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Might Djimi Traore be Sounders FC's answer at center back?

The team is in ongoing contract talks with the veteran defender, coach Sigi Schmid said in a conference call Thursday.

One of the other non-contract invitees in competition for a roster spot, Mikael Silvestre, has been released from training camp.

Traore, 32, has previously played for top English club Liverpool (among other European clubs), and he started for Seattle in its two exhibition games so far.

"I think that he's done well in the two games that he's played," Schmid said of Traore. "We'll continue to look. I know there are talks that are in the process, but what the results of that will be, I'm not sure."

Silvestre had joined up with the Sounders earlier this week when the team arrived in Tucson. The former defender for Manchester United and Arsenal had been training with the Portland Timbers earlier this preseason.

Schmid noted that Seattle holds Silvestre's MLS rights through a discovery claim, meaning the Sounders would likely be due compensation if, for example, Portland wants to sign the 35-year-old.

Center back became a position of concern when Jeff Parke, the Sounders' two-time Defender of the Year, was traded to his hometown club of Philadelphia in the offseason. Depth concerns were exacerbated when Patrick Ianni suffered a foot fracture during a seemingly routine fitness test (he could be out through the start of the season).

Schmid noted that "eight or nine" starting positions are settled in his mind with the MLS opener two weeks away; a center-back partner for Jhon Kennedy Hurtado, however, is one of the remaining questions.

At least four invitees at center back have been released from camp since the 6-foot-3 Traore joined early this month.

The Sounders haven't allowed a goal in the 90 minutes Traore and Hurtado have shared in preseason.

Notes

Mario Martinez joined the team Thursday night in Arizona. The midfielder had been dealing with personal matters following his duty with the Honduran national team.

• Designated player Christian Tiffert has stayed in Seattle to recover from an undisclosed injury, and it's uncertain when he'll rejoin the team.

• Rookie midfielder Kevin Durr, who was selected by the Sounders in the supplemental draft, has joined the team in Arizona during a two-week break from the Air Force Academy. His longterm availability with the club remains uncertain, and Schmid said the team would discuss that matter at the end of next week.

• Schmid gave strong indications SuperDraft pick Dylan Remick will be earning a contract.

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

On Twitter @joshuamayers

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