Sounders FC vs. San Jose Earthquakes
Wednesday; 10 am PT
Kino Sports Complex; Tucson, Ariz.
TUCSON, Ariz. – After 10 training days and 14 sessions, Sounders FC will play its first preseason game on Wednesday, facing the San Jose Earthquakes at the brand new stadium field at Kino Sports Complex.
With most of the attention of training camp focused on fitness, veterans and newcomers alike are growing downright giddy about the chance to face an opponent and the players will have their fair share of opportunities with four matches in five days, including another match on Thursday against Vancouver Whitecaps FC in Casa Grande, Ariz.
“Games are always exciting. Everybody always looks forward to games. They’d rather get their fitness in with games than get their fitness out here by running around,” said Sounders FC Head Coach Sigi Schmid. “Between the two games, some guys will get 45 minutes in both games. Some are just going to get 45 in one game or the other. It’s a good chance for them to step up and show.”
On a team filled with new faces, including seven with MLS experience, four draft picks and two Homegrown Players along with several non-roster invitees, Sounders FC will be looking to develop some chemistry throughout the slate of preseason matches.
While that will start with Wednesday’s match, there are five potential starters that won’t see any time in the first two matches. Brad Evans and DeAndre Yedlin are scheduled to return from U.S. National Team camp on Thursday, Clint Dempsey is out on loan to Fulham until March, and Leo Gonzalez is recovering from offseason groin surgery that will likely have him back on the field with his teammates after Sounders FC returns from Arizona. Newly-signed midfielder Marco Pappa has had just three training sessions and isn’t expected to play until Seattle’s two matches over the weekend, at the earliest.
There are still plenty of other areas Sounders FC will be looking to develop within the matches and plenty of starting-caliber players available to Schmid.
“We just need to make sure we continue to work on our long-term goal of being ready and being fit,” Schmid said. “We want to get out there and play some good soccer, too – have some good shape in what we play, connect our passes, play early, our movement off the ball is important to us as well. We’ll look for all those things.”
Despite the often rigorous workouts Sounders FC has run through in training camp, the mood has remained up-beat as players learn the playing styles and tendencies of their new teammates.
“I think it’s a reflection of the team that we’re trying to put together for this year and I think the characters that are on the team. You see a lot of good characters,” Schmid said. “The attitude has been good. The guys have done their work and they’ve done their work with a smile on their face, which is good. And they’ve pushed each other doing that work. So those are good things for our team.”
Wednesday’s match kicks off at 10 am PT, with a live stream on www.SoundersFC.com.