Training Report

Notebook: Nelson Valdez returns to Seattle injury-free

TUKWILA, Wash. – Forward Nelson Valdez flew back from Philadelphia on Sunday night and was right back at training with the Seattle Sounders on Monday, his first action with the team since suiting up with Paraguay in the Copa America Centenario.

Paraguay was eliminated from the tournament by the United States on Saturday, and Sounders head coach Sigi Schmid told reporters at Monday’s session that Valdez has returned healthy from national team duty.

“We didn’t want to go crazy with him today so we had him in for part of training and pulled him out,” said Schmid. “He’s injury free; that period of time helped him and we’re looking forward to him contributing this week.”

Valdez had been struggling with injury prior to the Copa break but it appears he has returned healthier and ready to go for his club. Although it's unclear if he'll play a part in the team's U.S. Open Cup match on Wednesday against the PDL's Kitsap Pumas, he could see action when the Sounders return to MLS play on Sunday at the New York Red Bulls.

Sounders Will Not Overlook Kitsap

Despite being heavily favored against the lower division Pumas on Wednesday night, Schmid’s side is preparing for a highly competitive match.

“It’s a little bit of a David versus Goliath story; they’re a local club, but they’re going to put everything out on the table,” Schmid said. “They’re a team that’s going to battle very hard and fight very hard so we have to be sharp and on our toes.”

Kitsap earned their spot in this round by going down to USL side Sacramento Republic and putting in a decisive performance, scoring three goals against a defense that had given up only four in nine matches. Sounders captain Brad Evans echoed his coach’s statements saying that the team is preparing like any other opponent.

“This is every game; we are professionals for a reason, and it’s to come out and perform against any team that steps on the field,” he said. “You can’t look past this Kitsap team; you’ve got to come out with the same fire, the same energy.”

Eyes of a Nation on Seattle

The scenarios are set and Seattle will be the stage for the United States’ quarterfinal showdown with Ecuador on Thursday. The US earned their passage by claiming six points and topping their group stage above South American powerhouse, Colombia.

It is the biggest US match ever played on Seattle soil and will certainly be met with booming support from the Sounders faithful, who be cheering on their own Clint Dempsey.

“I think it’s fantastic for our fans to get to see our player Clint Dempsey with the national team, support the national team and help him move forward into the next round,” said Schmid.

The match will be particularly special for Evans, who played for the U.S. in its last match at CenturyLink Field back in 2013, when the they topped Panama in a CONCACAF World Cup qualifier.

“I know the guys are excited to be here,” Evans said of his U.S. teammates. “The last time they were here they didn’t know much about Seattle, none of them had ever come….now they know what to expect from the crowd, and I know the boys will be buzzing.”



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