Seattle Sounders head coach Sigi Schmid confirmed that Panamanian international Roberto Chen has arrived in preseason camp with the club, and worked out for the first time on Monday in Tucson, Ariz.
Chen, a 21-year-old center back boasting 16 international caps with Panama, joins the Sounders’ camp after recently cutting ties with Spanish club Málaga. He signed a three-year deal with the club in 2013 but has played sparingly there and has been loaned out twice in the two years since.
Panamanian outlet RPCTV reported on Sunday that Chen was close to a signing a four-year contract with the Sounders, but Schmid insisted Monday that no decision has been made yet and no deal is done. Chen worked out with the Sounders in 2013 and the club was eager to bring him back in to see if he can add depth and youth on the back line.
“Were happy to have Roberto here,” Schmid said. “He’s a player that we’ve had our eye on for a while, and we almost had something – he ended up at Malaga, which was a great opportunity for him there – and now we have maybe another chance for him. We’ll see how he does this week and then make a decision.”
Chen made his debut with the Panamanian national team in 2011 and later featured prominently in the 2013 CONCACAF Gold Cup, when Los Canaleros lost to the United States in the final. He suffered a torn ACL in his left knee in September 2014.
Schmid said Chen suffered some understandable fatigue during his first workout with the club on Monday.
“He’s an inside player and I thought today he seemed a little fatigued because he flew all day on Saturday and down here on Sunday,” Schmid said. “Then we go into a training day here, and it was a tough training as well. But we’re looking forward to seeing how he does.”
Three Periods Against Vancouver
Schmid said Monday that the Sounders and Vancouver Whitecaps FC will play three, 45-minute periods when they play their first preseason game on Wednesday at the Kino Sports Complex in Tucson (4 p.m. PT). A live stream of the game will be available on Soundersfc.com.