With the 2010 roster almost identical to last year's, the Sounders are confident of another successful campaign. Also, James Riley and Taylor Graham provide Goal.com their video update on the CBA negotiations.
The second year franchise opened training camp this week with 32 players and one prominent loss from the 2009 roster. Two of the most visible absences in practice this week were midfielders Freddie Ljungberg, Seattle’s Designated Player, and Sebastien LeToux.
Ljungberg confirmed that he’ll be back in Seattle on Monday after offseason overtures from several European clubs failed to materialize. An apparent "miscommunication" between the club and Ljungberg led to his belated return to the Emerald City.
LeToux is the largest loss from last year’s team. Seattle left the former USL MPV unprotected in the expansion draft, and the Philadelphia Union scooped up the Frenchman in the hopes that he can replicate his USL scoring prowess with the MLS’ newest team. LeToux will be looking forward to the Union's visit to Seattle in the club's first ever match on March 25.
After Seattle's elimination from the 2009 playoffs, head coach Sigi Schmid emphasized the need for stability and cohesion in 2010. Defender Taylor Graham and forward Nate Jaqua echoed the same sentiments when interviewed after Thursday’s practice session.
"We were competing against some teams, like Houston, that were together for four, five, six years,” Graham said. "We’re trying to compete against players who know their individual nuances and personalities from the beginning."
Jaqua, who netted nine goals and seven assists in 2009 with Seattle, wanted to build on last year's success, which included a U.S. Open Cup trophy, and go farther.
"We lost to Houston, and we weren’t happy with the finish,” Jaqua said. "We grew over the course of the year. We can continue to build on this and improve."
Preseason training roster:
Goalkeepers: Terry Boss, Chris Eylander, Kasey Keller, Patrick Lane (invitee).
Defenders: Taylor Graham, Leo Gonzalez, Jhon Kennedy Hurtado, Patrick Ianni, Tyrone Marshall, Lamar Neagle (invitee), James Riley, Zach Scott, Nathan Sturgis, Tyson Wahl, Jamel Wallace (SuperDraft selection).
Midfielders: Osvaldo Alonso, Brad Evans, Michael Fucito (invitee), Josh Gardner (invitee), Stephen King, Freddie Ljungberg, Yakir Lusky (invitee), Sanna Nyassi, Michael Seamon (Super Draft selection), Peter Vagenas.
Forwards: David Estrada (SuperDraft selection), Nate Jaqua, Roger Levesque, Fredy Montero, Tye Perdido (invitee), Jarrod Smith (invitee), Steve Zakuani.
The Sounders head towards a warmer climate next week when the squad travels to Arizona through February 11. From February 15 through February 26, Seattle will train and compete in La Manga, Spain. Sounders FC will face Norwegian champion Rosenborg BK in the opening Group A match at the La Manga Cup on February 18. Sounders FC will play either Denmark’s FC Norsjalland or Norway’s Stabak on February 21. The tournament concludes with crossover matches to determine final placement on February 25 and 26.
Negotiations Video Update
Watch the video below with Seattle’s union representatives James Riley and Taylor Graham continuing CBA negotiations with MLS. The two sides announced late on Thursday that the January 31 deadline has now been extended through February 12.
John Zielonka is the Seattle correspondent for Goal.com.