Sigi Schmid

With international break over, Seattle Sounders eye U.S. Open Cup, return to MLS play

TUKWILA, Wash. – Of all the challenges faced by MLS coaches, figuring out how to keep players mentally and physically fresh over the course of the long regular season is one of the biggest.

For Seattle Sounders head coach Sigi Schmid, his team’s recent break for this month’s Copa America Centenario could end up helping him do exactly that.

“[The break] is a good way just to get away and to regenerate yourself physically and mentally,” Schmid told reporters at Starfire Sports on Thursday following Seattle’s first practice back from the break. “One of the things about our league that’s unique and different is that when you look at the [other leagues around the world] there’s usually a break that occurs so the guys aren’t playing nine or 10 months without a break.”

With the Copa break now in the rearview mirror, the Sounders next MLS match will see them head East for a matchup with the New York Red Bulls on June 19.

Before that, however, Seattle will kick off its 2016 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup run with a June 15 matchup at Starfire with the Kitsap Pumas of the fourth-division Premier Development League.

Although it might seem like a mismatch on paper, Schmid says his side can’t afford to look past a Kitsap team sure to be hungry to make its mark with an upset over an MLS side.

“It’s an Open Cup game,” Schmid said. “It’s the beauty of the David vs. Goliath thing. People like that. So for us, it’s a Round of 32 Open Cup game that we need to get past. If you look past an opponent, it’s going to be a difficult game.”

In injury-related news, Schmid gave an update on the status of Panamanian center back Roman Torres, who is still recovering from a torn ACL suffered last season.

“Today was the first day he was in the warm-up at the beginning of practice,” Schmid said. “We’ll continue to grow and progress. We’re talking about exactly what we’re going to do with him over the next 3-4 weeks, so there’s a couple of alternatives. At the beginning of July is really when the push is going to come.”

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