For Sounders' newest signees, perseverance pays off
Philip Lund and Ashani Fairclough had to try out for nearly two months before earning contracts with Sounders FC. It was worth the wait.
Seattle Times staff reporter
Sounders @ Real Salt Lake, 6 p.m., KONG
Latest from the Sounders FC blog
Week 7 in MLS: Power rankings and other thoughts from Alan Hinton NEW - 4/23, 11:36 PM
TUKWILA — A two-month-long tryout wasn't always easy. But that is what stood between two prospective Sounders, Philip Lund and Ashani Fairclough, and a signed contract.
Their additions, which fill out Seattle's depth, were made official Friday.
In the end, it was worth the wait.
"It's amazing for me," said Lund, a 23-year-old Danish forward/midfielder. "It means a lot."
Added Fairclough, a 20-year-old Jamaican defender: "To finally get it done, it's a pleasure to be here among everyone. It's just a great feeling to sign my first professional contract."
Both will need to receive their visas and international transfer clearance to become eligible. Once Lund and Fairclough are added to the active roster, the Sounders will have six of seven available international slots filled.
Coach Sigi Schmid gave credit to assistant coach Ezra Hendrickson for spotting Lund at a player combine in the offseason. That led to an invite to preseason training camp here in January.
Lund had been hampered by minor injuries and illness during his tryout, which he said probably resulted in the delayed signing. He is also coming off a longterm knee injury.
"If I think back three months, I couldn't even run," Lund said. "But now I'm standing with a Seattle Sounders contract."
Schmid said Fairclough, a rookie out of South Florida, has "big upside" but could also be loaned to a lower-division team this season to get playing time.
In what Schmid called "a little bit of a confusing issue," Sounders FC's Michael Gspurning will be suspended for the first leg of the CONCACAF Champions League semifinal against Mexico's Santos Laguna on April 2.
The goalkeeper picked up his second yellow card of the tournament in the 86th minute of the second quarterfinal leg against Tigres UANL, which results in an automatic one-game suspension. The caution wasn't listed in the postgame report
"CONCACAF was a little unclear," Schmid said, "because normally yellow cards wipe clean after the group stage. CONCACAF has a rule where it wipes clean after the quarterfinal stage."
Schmid said the yellow card, apparently given for time-wasting, was harsh and noted it happened during a Tigres substitution.
Gspurning told MLSsoccer.com Tuesday he is upset with the suspension: "It's an important game, and I wanted to play."
• Former Sounders FC defender Adam Johansson, who was waived last week, has signed with Sweden's IFK Goteborg, the team he played for from 2005 to 2011.
Joshua Mayers: 206-464-3184 or email@example.com