Seattle Sounders Notebook: Erik Friberg, Tyrone Mears back in training

TUKWILA, Wash. – Seattle Sounders midfielder Erik Friberg and defender Tyrone Mears resumed full training on Thursday for the first time since sitting out the season opener on Sunday.


“Friberg was full in training and Tyrone was full in as well,” said head coach Sigi Schmid, indicating that the pair will likely be available for Saturday’s clash against Real Salt Lake (1 p.m. PT; JOEtv/ROOT Sports (outside Seattle)/KIRO 97.3 FM, El Rey 1360AM).  


Friberg, who sustained a concussion during the second leg of SCCL play in Mexico City earier this month, cleared the league-mandated protocol this week and Mears has been rehabbing a quad injury.


Friberg is expected to resume his position alongside Andreas Ivanschitz and Osvaldo Alonso in the midfield against RSL, while Mears will slot in at right back, where he led the team in total minutes last season.


Can Sounders Slow Down RSL?

Real Salt Lake is not one of the more feared sides in a formidable Western Conference this season, but they have started strong in 2016. In SCCL play, the team went toe to toe with Liga MX powerhouse Tigres and just narrowly fell short of the semifinals.


In their season opener at Orlando City, they dominated play for 92 minutes in front of more than 60,000 fans until an epic two-goal rally from the home side left them packing with just a point.


On Saturday, the Sounders travel to Rio Tinto Stadium for their first away match  of the new year, and Schmid expects a tough challenge.


“They’re always tough at home, because they’re a good team,” Schmid said, suggesting that the key to the Sounders success will be overcoming the weathered veteran core of RSL. “They still have that nucleus of [Jamison] Olave, [Javier] Morales, and [Kyle] Beckerman, and then [Nick] Rimando in goal. So there’s still that spine that they’ve been able to keep over all these years.”


Young Players Key to Success

The Sounders technical staff hasn’t been shy in recent months about their interest in getting younger and faster. With up and coming players like forward Jordan Morris and midfielder Cristian Roldan, the Sounders are on the right track. Schmid knows the time for these players to step up is now.


“We think we have a good veteran core of players that are available,” Schmid said, “but it’s got to be sprinkled sometimes with those younger options and they have to be ready to play.”


Schmid said the mix of depth will be essential in ensuring the team’s health throughout the 34-game regular season and into the playoffs.


“The most important thing is to be fresh at the end…if we’re healthy, I think we get through,” he said.

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