Friday morning in Tucson, Sounders FC completed the final training session of its final camp of the preseason. The team is returning to the Emerald City on Sunday.
Seattle’s regular-season opener versus the New England Revolution – the defending Eastern Conference champions – is one week from Sunday. Head Coach Sigi Schmid is pleased with his team’s mindset as it wraps up the trip to Arizona and makes final preparations for the season.
“The team mentality is good. The spirit is good,” Schmid said. “We’ve got good camaraderie in the locker room, and older guys are helping younger guys. So I’m happy with that growth process.
“The trip’s gone well: The weather has been good, we’ve had good facilities to train in, and we’ve made strides in terms of talking about how we want to play. We were able to experiment a little bit as well, and that answered some questions for us. So I’ve been happy.”
Schmid’s side has just one more thing on its agenda before heading back to Seattle.
Seven days after the Sounders lost 3-2 to Sporting Kansas City, the two clubs will meet again on Saturday in their final respective games of the 2015 Desert Diamond Cup. Kickoff from the Kino Sports Complex is set for 4:00 p.m. PST.
Saturday’s matchup is an intriguing one for two reasons: Sporting KC is back in the Western Conference and will face the Rave Green three times this year, and Schmid says his projected starters could remain on the pitch for the entire game.
“Making sure guys are comfortable going 90 minutes so that the first match isn’t the first time they go 90,” Schmid said of his approach to Saturday. “We also have to make sure that we play with our shape and that we get out of it what we want, in terms of our combinations.”
Most of the players who were in the starting lineup for the first two Desert Diamond Cup matches sat out on Wednesday against the Revolution. That provided Schmid a chance to see some of his young players in action against MLS competition and allowed the club’s starters to get used to playing a game once per week.