The Sounders FC faced off with the Vancouver Whitecaps FC on Friday and for Sigi Schmid and the coaching staff it was the first opportunity to see some of the Seattle rookies playing in competition against MLS opponents.
Most of the rookies played in the final 35-minute period, including 20th overall pick in the 2011 MLS SuperDraft Michael Tetteh. Drafted as a left back, Tetteh played his time on the left side of midfield, a position he also played at UC-Santa Barbara.
He stayed wide for much of the time, but made significant strides in his game when he heard Schmid instructing him to tuck into the middle more.
“Once Sigi told me to come inside, I was very effective and had three shots on goal. I actually should have scored, but it felt good,” Tetteh said.
On one of those shots, he came to the middle behind the play and when the ball came to him, he powered a shot that was saved by the Vancouver goalkeeper. It may have been his best chance, but he just missed on hitting the ball the way he wanted to, hoping to get more power on the shot.
Schmid singled out Tetteh and the two goalkeepers, Josh Ford and Bryan Meredith, along with Servando Carrasco as impact-making rookies on Friday. Carrasco played slightly more than the rest, coming on for Brad Evans late in the second period, then playing the whole third period.
As much as the coaches liked getting a look at the players in live action, the rookies relished the opportunity even more.
“We’ve been training for a long time and it definitely feels good to get out there and play against a different team,” Tetteh said.
To Tetteh, it was a chance to utilize many of the tips he’d picked up in the two weeks of training from his coaches and teammates alike.
“I came early and was watching the guys playing left back and left mid and I was picking things up from that,” he said. “Every day I try to make sure I talk to the guys and talk to the coaches and get feedback, so I felt pretty good.”
It was just a small taste, but all of the players were thrilled at the chance to play some games and get a better gauge for their growth.
“You want to build from game-to-game in preseason because it’s a long two months, but this is a good stepping stone to start us,” veteran defender Jeff Parke said.
The Sounders will get three more tastes of competition next week when they take on Real Salt Lake on Tuesday at Grande Sports World, the Columbus Crew on Thursday at West Side Complex in Phoenix and Chivas USA on Saturday at Grande Sports World before returning to Seattle.