Each year the Sounders conduct the “Beep Test” to determine the fitness level of the players on the roster.
And each year, David Estrada makes the grueling run his own personal play-thing. This year, though, there was much more to Estrada’s off-season regimen than keeping his fitness up.
“I take pride in the work that I do in the offseason and the Beep Test is one of those tests where you get to see where you are compared with everybody else,” he said. “I am where I’ve been in past years. One of the things I worked on was touches on the ball and playing with guys in the offseason.”
In an offseason that also included plenty of community involvement for the Sounders FC’s 2012 Humanitarian of the Year, he went about his training with a new type of focus.
Estrada had a dream start to the 2012 season.
Filling in for the injured Eddie Johnson as a forward partner for Fredy Montero, Estrada opened the season with a goal against Santos Laguna in the CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinal meeting, scoring his first goal as a Sounder against longtime Mexican National Team goalkeeper Oswaldo Sanchez.
He wasn’t done there though, netting a dramatic hat trick against Toronto FC in the MLS regular season opener, then scoring against the Houston Dynamo one week later to make it five goals in the club’s first four matches.
A broken foot slowed some of that momentum, but now, the fittest player in Rave Green is looking to continue that type of contribution with the Sounders in his fourth MLS season.
“That’s one of the things you learn when you’ve been here a few years. The opportunities are few and you want to take advantage when they are presented to you,” said Seattle’s first round pick in the 2010 MLS SuperDraft. “That’s one of the things I looked forward to in the beginning of the year last year and this year I’m looking forward to that opportunity, too. I think I’ll be ready. These past few days have been good for me and I’m looking to build on that throughout the whole preseason.”
Like 2012, the Sounders will have a huge early-season test in the Champions League quarterfinals, this time against UANL Tigres from Monterrey, Mexico.
Just like he did in the first leg of the aggregate goal series against Santos Laguna, Estrada is hoping to seize that chance against Tigres in their meetings on March 6 in Monterrey and March 12 at CenturyLink Field.
“It’s a big opportunity,” Estrada said. “We’re looking to prove something. We’re up there with the first division Mexican soccer teams and I think we’re going to do well.”