Soon after arriving in Buenos Aires on Wednesday, the Seattle Sounders FC set a tentative schedule of training games while in Argentina.
Seattle will play up to five 70-minute matches, beginning Friday morning (11 A.M. local, 5 A.M. PT) at Estudiantes La Plata. On Saturday (10 A.M. PT) the opposition is CED, a squad comprised of local-based free agents.
Action resumes Monday at Vélez Sarsfield (4:30 A.M. PT) with a visit to Argentinos Juniors on Tuesday (4:30 A.M. PT). The final fixture will be either Wednesday or Thursday against River Plate. The Argentine clubs are expected to field a mixture of starters and reserves.
The Sounders FC travel party arrived midday Wednesday in Buenos Aires following a 10-hour overnight flight from Dallas/Fort Worth. Late in the afternoon, head coach Sigi Schmid conducted a 70-minute training session with temperatures in the mid-80s at the Argentinos Juniors youth academy grounds.
Argentine legend and current national team coach Diego Maradona is a product of the Argentinos Juniors youth system and played his first five professional seasons for the club’s first division team.
Joining practice for the first time were Michael Fucito, the fourth-round MLS SuperDraft pick out of Harvard, and invitee Evan Bush, a goalkeeper from the University of Akron. Fucito met the team in Seattle last week after recovering from a hamstring injury sustained last fall. Third-round choice Jared Karkas took part in drills for the first time since a hamstring strain sidelined him three weeks ago.
Central defender Taylor Graham (foot) was held out of practice and is not expected to play in any of the training games. Forward Steve Zakuani (ankle) did not participate in the tri-squad 7v7v7 possession games.
Jhon Kennedy Hurtado, the newly-signed Colombian defender, arrives Thursday in Buenos Aires.
The Sounders FC opens the MLS season on March 19, hosting the New York Red Bulls at the Xbox Pitch at Qwest Field. More than 20,000 season tickets have been sold and single-game tickets go on sale on Monday, March 2.
Players present for the first day of training in Argentina:
- Goalkeepers (3): Evan Bush, Chris Eylander, Kasey Keller
- Defenders: Evan Brown, Taylor Graham, Patrick Ianni, Jared Karkas, Tyrone Marshall, James Riley, Zach Scott, Nathan Sturgis, Tyson Wahl
- Midfielders: Osvaldo Alonso, Brad Evans, Sebastien Le Toux, Stephen King, Sanna Nyassi, Michael Fucito, Ryan Caugherty
- Forwards: Jeff Clark, Nate Jaqua, Roger Levesque, Fredy Montero, Steve Zakuani