It is much later than everyone is used to, but on Monday the Seattle Sounders returned to Starfire to begin their 2020 Western Conference title defense – and avenge their extinction at the December MLS Cup.
The start of the season had been delayed twice due to renegotiations on a revised collective agreement, but with these arguments finally resolved, the Sounders can focus on more enjoyable topics. Among the jokes was a surprise appearance by Jordan Morris, who was on loan at Swansea City before an ACL injury interrupted his European adventure.
“It was great to see him with his teammates; it adds a good atmosphere to the workout. said head coach Brian Schmetzer. “It’s an unfortunate injury for one of our best players.
The still raging Covid-19 protocols have long been a way of life for Sounders, so the team are used to testing, quarantines and other guidelines. Still, the contrast to last year’s preseason, with the virus still seemingly in another world, has not been lost on Schmetzer. “We’re already in the covid protocol, so a lot of things we’ve learned over the past year… we’re going to try to keep players safe,” Schmetzer said. “There are a lot of similarities, but structurally it looks different. “
It will be six busy weeks for the Sounders before the season opens on April 17 against an as yet undetermined opponent. Major League Soccer hasn’t released each team’s first opponents, let alone the season schedule. Prior to that, Schmetzer outlined the preseason goals ahead of the start of the season.
“The priorities are to get them fit and healthy, No. 1,” said Schmetzer. “No. 2 is the way of playing, the systems of play. And then it’s the evaluation. We brought in four or five of the best players from the academy and we can’t wait to see what they can do.
Among the academy’s players in preseason training are Juan Alvarez, Cody Baker and Taka Sasaki who join Defiance player, 15, Reed Baker-Whiting.
For players, the start of the preseason means a chance to erase the bitter taste of loss in last year’s MLS Cup. Midfielder Cristian Roldan has said he looks forward to a quick start to the season.
“For us, we have to bounce back from a tough loss in the MLS Cup.” Roldan said.
Without any CCL obligations, Roldan said he hopes for a year with fewer ups and downs. “We are expecting a somewhat normal year,” said Roldan. “It’s another preseason and another year to have a chance to win trophies and I think that’s our mindset for the future. I hope we can start off on the right foot.
The Sounders have released their preseason roster which includes a number of academy and Tacoma Defiance players. The roster will be updated periodically, as players come and go throughout the preseason:
Juan Alvarez *, Xavier Arreaga, Josh Atencio, Cody Baker *, Reed Baker-Whiting +, Will Bruin, Abdoulaye Cissoko +, Stefan Cleveland, João Paulo, Jordy Delem, Alec Díaz +, Ethan Dobbelaere, Stefan Frei, Yeimar Gómez Andrade, Christian Herrera +, Shandon Hopeau, Sota Kitahara +, Danny Leyva, Nicolás Lodeiro, Jimmy Medranda, Jordan Morris #, Trey Muse #, Nouhou, Alfonso Ocampo-Chavez, Shane O’Neill, Spencer Richey, Danny Robles +, Alex Roldan, Cristian Roldan, Kelyn Rowe, Raúl Ruidíaz, Taka Sasaki *, Ray Serrano +, Brad Smith, Alex Villanueva +
+ Tacoma Defiance player
* Sounders FC Academy player