Seattle Sounders head coach Sigi Schmid focused on current squad ahead of Champions League play

Less than 24 hours after Obafemi Martins signified an end to his celebrated three-year stay in Seattle, head coach Sigi Schmid on Thursday opted to focus on the players the club has rather than the one apparently on the way out.

Martins took to his personal Twitter account on Wednesday night to confirm he’s moving on to Chinese club Shanghai Shenua, a move first reported late last week. The deal has not been confirmed by either the Sounders or Major League Soccer, and Schmid said during a conference call with media members on Thursday he had nothing new to add to the conversation.

“As with anything that happens in life, you gain knowledge of it at various times,” Schmid said of the situation, “and you just cope with it.”

Schmid instead preferred to focus on the team’s 4-0 win over the LA Galaxy in a closed-door friendly at StubHub Center, which played out shortly after Martins went public with his plans for the future. The Sounders cruised to the win behind a pair of goals from Andreas Ivanschitz and another from Clint Dempsey, two key cogs in an offensive setup that appeared just fine without Martins in the mix.

And a big part of that success was Homegrown forward Jordan Morris, who slotted up top with Dempsey and Nelson Valdez in the team’s new 4-3-3 formation. Morris finished with two assists in the win.

“Jordan Morris is part of that mix for us up front,” Schmid said. “We’ve trained it [the 4-3-3 formation], we’ve tweaked it, we’ve changed it a little bit. We’ve gotten better about it.”

Schmid said his players are gaining confidence and comfort in the formation and that was on display against the Galaxy. Despite the conditions—for most the match, the players combatted heavy rain and plenty of water on the pitch—he said his team’s fitness is right where he wants it ahead of the first leg of the Scotiabank CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinals against Club América on Feb. 23 in Seattle.

“The field, because it played heavier…we felt that pushing our guys for 75 minutes was the equivelant of 90 on a dry field,” said Schmid. “We’ll work a little bit on Saturday [back in Seattle], and get back into a rhythm. On Sunday and Monday, we’ll prepare technically for Club América.”

Farfan returning to full fitness

One player Schmid was willing to comment on was midfielder Michael Farfan, who the Sounders picked up this offseason. Added to shore up the depth in midfield, Farfan did not play on Wednesday night due to injury.

“Michael had had a bit of an injury—a groin injury—so we’ve been cautious with it,” Schmid said, adding that Farfan was set to return to full training on Saturday at Starfire Sports.

Farfan’s flexibility was appealing to the club and Schmid noted that he “can play any of those three midfield spots” and even had the potential to drop in up top.

“We haven’t seen the best of him,” said Schmid.



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