Sounders FC vs. Charleston Battery
Carolina Challenge Cup preseason tournament
Saturday, February 22; 4:15 pm PT
Blackbaud Stadium; Charleston, South Carolina
Sounders FC kicks off the second leg of preseason matches on Saturday against the Charleston Battery in the Carolina Challenge Cup, and with just two weeks left to prepare for the first regular season match against Sporting Kansas City, Seattle Head Coach Sigi Schmid is less concerned about results than the product on the field.
“I want to see us continue to work on our cohesion, playing with each other, being good with the ball, making sure we defend well and play the game to zero,” Schmid said.
There are many different pieces to that puzzle for the Sounders. Seattle benefits from getting newcomer Kenny Cooper more time with forward partner Obafemi Martins in a pairing that has been fruitful in training. Meanwhile, players like Marco Pappa and Chad Marshall will look to further integrate themselves into the lineup while others aim to solidify their role in the starting 11 and matchday 18 while others are still working to earn spots on the roster.
Thus far, Seattle has done well to meet many of the objectives set forth by Schmid and the results have come for the Sounders in turn. In four matches in Tucson, Sounders FC went 3-0-1 while outscoring their opponents 6-3.
Now looking to build the players toward playing a full 90 minutes by the final of three matches in the Carolina Challenge Cup, Seattle will look to get its starters extended time against the Battery.
While the level of the opponent may on the surface look like it should be an easy match for Seattle, Schmid isn’t about to take the USL Pro team lightly, knowing that the players on the Battery, including several that have trained with the Sounders at various points over the last few years, will be looking to impress.
“Charleston is going to be up for the game. Sometimes if you’re playing another MLS team, psychologically you may be more in-tune to playing them. But you have to be prepared for a team like Charleston,” Schmid said. “For them, this is a big game. It’s a chance for some guys to get noticed, so they’re going to play with a lot of energy and a lot of enthusiasm. We have to make sure that we’re mentally sharp and we’re mentally prepared to go at the game.”
Among the players who have spent time in Seattle are UW product Taylor Mueller, Jose Cuevas, Cody Ellison and Michael Azira, who is currently vying for a spot on Sounders FC’s roster, but will play for Charleston on Saturday. Additionally, midfielder Amadou Sanyang spent some time with Seattle in 2011, making one MLS appearance late in the season.
Kickoff at Blackbaud Stadium is scheduled for 4:15 pm PT, with a video stream on SoundersFC.com. Fans can also keep up with the action on Twitter by following @LiveSounders.