The Sounders were back at it on Friday as the club had its second training session in Charleston, SC. The conditions were slightly different but the result remained the same as a number of Head Coach Sigi Schmid's objectives were met.
Here are some notes from a very windy afternoon in South Carolina
Energy In the 5v2
Things started out with a bit of 5v2 and the guys were all full of energy to begin the session. From across the field in the stands (where I parked myself for part of training), you could easily hear the guys laughing and joking. This was a particular interesting 5v2 stretch as the '2' would rotate through to the other groups on the fly.
Ezra In the Mix
Sounders FC Assistant Coach Ezra Hendrickson was quite a player in his MLS days...and he obviously hasn't lost much of that in retirement. The 42-year-old still moves really well and was involved in a number of today's activities with the rest of the squad. Definitely keeps the vibe really loose as well.
Cooper finishes strongly
One of the biggest bodies on the team, new forward Kenny Cooper has been piling in the training goals so far this preseason. His shot, so you all know, is as big as his massive frame and on a number of occasions today he rifled home a few rockets from a variety of locations.
In Goal, Ford Makes Presence Known
After a long recovery from knee surgery last year, it appears as though Josh Ford is nearing 100 percent. He was extremely active in goal today making a number of loud saves. Loud with his gloves and with his voice as after keeping the ball out he exclaimed passionately. Great to see a good guy like him get back to full strength. Oh, and I met his parents last night. His mom hugged me. So go Josh!
Oba Does His Thing
In the team's 8v8 session, Martins was up to his usual goal poaching ways as a shot came in from midfield that was saved. The Nigerian took the rebound and flicked it with his heel around the keeper to Brad Evans who slid home with ease. Touch of class right there.
Immediately following that little exchange, he was involved in the next goal as he cut inside two players, dropped it to Chad Barrett whose soft layoff was smashed home by Marco Pappa. Good to see the guys gelling like that.
The second half of training, Schmid took the first team to one side of the field and coached them extensively on corners. Pappa was the man sending them in with the big bodies of Chad Marshall, Kenny Cooper and Andy Rose waiting in the middle. That trio could be a big handful for opposition defenses this year.
No Sun On Friday
The weather wasn't nearly as agreeable on day two as the club was forced to end the session a bit early as a massive storm hit. The wind was blowing hard for most of the session (nearly blew my laptop off my...uh...lap) and it turned into heavy rain towards the end. Forecast says improved conditions are on the way, thankfully.
Play of the Day
The top play of the afternoon was a little bicycle attempt by David Estrada that was more about placement than power as it looped over Josh Ford's head. Aware of the danger, rookie Damion Lowe darted to the goal line and slid to stab it away before it crossed. It was a great play by both players and caused quite the reaction from the rest of the team.
Tidbits from training will continue after the weekend when the Sounders return to the practice field.