The snow may be gone, but temperatures were still frigid out at Starfire as the Sounders returned to the practice field ahead of the MLS season opener versus FC Cincinnati this weekend.
Some roster news broke ahead of the session, as the Sounders announced that they’d waived Jordan McCrary and signed trialist Saad Abdul Salaam, formerly of NYCFC. As NYCFC had Abdul Saalam’s rights, the Sounders had to pay $50,000 in TAM to obtain his rights. McCrary didn’t appear to do anything wrong per se this preseason, but it appears Salaam athleticism and versatility won the day.
On the field, the team looks relatively healthy. Brad Smith, who left the game against Nacional with an apparent leg issue, was in full training today, so there appears to be no lingering effects from that problem.
Coach Brian Schmetzer also mentioned–as it appears that Smith has won the starting job–that Nouhou is still in contention, and it was more that his visa problems that delayed his return to the team that allowed Smith to get a head start on the competition.
As it relates to Abdul Salaam, Schmetzer indicated a desire to also have him play center back. “He’s had a career where I think he can get a little better,” Schmetzer said. “He’s a big kid, very athletic and we might try him there and see if he can make an impact there as well.”
Danny Leyva continues to practice with the first team, and was fully in training today, mixing it up with the veterans. As the only Tacoma Definance player still fully practicing with the first unit, Schmetzer was asked about his status after practice. However, he shed no light on whether the team is about to sign the 15-year-old to what would be a historic contract with the 1st team.
Victor Rodriguez, who has had a productive preseason, talked about the benefits of being fully fit coming into the season. “I’m great,” Rodriguez said. “I’m ready to go; I want to start tomorrow if I can.”
The Sounders will continue practicing at Starfire this week, with the exception of Thursday, which is Media Day. Lots of interviews, and (gulp) a Media game. It should be a bloodbath.