Wednesday, Day 3
It’s officially Sounders Matchday!
The day started with a team walk, meals, and plenty of relaxing ahead of the 7 p.m. kickoff. At dinner, Coach Schmetzer was sure to emphasize the importance of this Cascadia clash, but also the primary objective of achieving fitness during this camp.
Once the evening rolled out around, the 2022 preseason slate kicked off against the Portland Timbers. The result ended in a scoreless draw, although the Sounders had several chances that just couldn’t quite find the final quality touch. The opening 60 minutes featured a veteran-heavy lineup, while the last 30 minutes provided a run for younger players in the organization. A full recap can be found here: LINK
Following the match, Sam Adeniran reflected on making his debut in the league’s most storied rivalry, while Will Bruin signed autographs and chatted with supporters. Raúl Ruidíaz blasted the speaker on the bus — his usual move — and we made our way back to the hotel for the night.
Tuesday, Day 2
Day two in Southern Arizona kicked off with a quick team breakfast before heading over to Kino Sports Complex's fields for the second training session of the week. After another light session of drills, short scrimmages and some set piece work, Stefan Frei and Kelyn Rowe participated in the daily interviews for the club.
Kelyn and Stef had some thoughts to share on the upcoming rivalry match:
Kelyn: "First game against an opposing team and it happens to be Portland and obviously you want to kind of show your prowess with the rivalry but we also have to be smart. It is preseason — you make sure that everyone comes out of that healthy and for us, it's about getting that fitness and if we can put a few goals on them that'd be nice."
Stef: "It always has the potential for becoming a feisty one even if it's preseason...there's some bigger goals than to win that game tomorrow for both sides but like I said there's always potential that it flares up and turns into something else."
The most noticeable aspect of the training was all the smiles — the joy of being back on the field with beloved teammates, which of course includes a classic Yeimar smile.
In the evening, all head coaches of the participating MLS teams in Tucson's preseason event (Pablo Mastroeni; Real Salt Lake, Robin Fraser; Colorado Rapids, Giovanni Savarese; Portland Timbers) were invited to a press conference to chat about the upcoming matches. Brian Schmetzer shared some great personal tidbits on his rival head coaches, as they all displayed their mutual respect for each other's achievements. Altogether, the press conference was a unique opportunity into the thoughts of some of the Western Conference's leading coaches. The full video of the event is well worth a watch.
Monday, Day 1
2022 MLS Preseason starts now! After a nearly two-month offseason, the Rave Green have arrived at Kino Sports Complex in Tucson, Arizona for the first leg of their preseason trip.
The goal of day one is to get the squad settled ahead of the 10-day camp in Tucson, which includes a scrimmage against bitter rival Portland on Wednesday, January 26, and a Western Conference clash against the Colorado Rapids on Wednesday, February 1 before heading back to the Emerald City.
Following an early breakfast, the squad made the walk into the training fields after receiving their equipment for the day and changing at the complex’s lockers. The walk from the lockers to the training fields might be a mundane moment in the world of soccer coverage until you see these two MLS greats walking in, fully focused on what’s to come.
Today’s training session consisted of a light warm-up, pre-training muscle activation and drills, followed by a half-field scrimmage. Upon the ending of training, Brad Smith and Brian Schmetzer joined the communications staff for quick interviews, providing their thoughts on preseason and the upcoming match against Portland. Coach Schmetzer regarded today’s work as, “A regen session to get the flight out of us because most of our prep is just focused on the first exhibition game against Portland.”
The rest of the day was comprised of lunch upon our return to the team hotel, a mobility session in the hotel conference hall, capped by a buffet dinner. It was a laidback afternoon for the guys, with many using their free time to bond with teammates and taking in the desert sights that Tucson has to offer.
Overall, the group was in good spirits, with high energy and big smiles.
More to come -> Day Two.