Seattle Sounders staying calm ahead of crunch clash with Houston Dynamo

When attending Seattle Sounders FC training sessions during the week at Starfire Sports Complex in Tukwila, Washington the majority of the 12 outdoor fields are vacant and there is an overarching sense of calm mixed in with Brian Schmetzer’s practices. Save for the occasional passing train, there is little to hear other than players and coaches preparing for the upcoming match.

On Saturdays the complex comes to life as youth teams take over fields overlooked by the Sounders’ offices; the future of Seattle soccer on display in the shadow of it’s present.

The atmosphere for players during Saturday training is wildly different from the mostly unwatched weekday training sessions as fans get a chance to watch practice as well as get photos and autographs.

Jordan Morris signing autographs for Seattle Sounders fans. (Photo: John Marshall)


While it’s still business as usual for the team as they prepare for a Monday night game against Houston Dynamo, the increased fan presence is something defender Kelvin Leerdam welcomes.

“First of all I’m happy that the people are here,” said Leerdam after practice. “They are always supporting us in good and bad times. Now it’s going good so everybody’s happy but they’re also coming when we are on a bad run. So it always gives us a boost. If you see people happy you just want to play more and play harder and hopefully we can keep the stretch going.”

Houston provides a tough test for Sounders with a speedy attacking core coming off a US Open Cup victory over Philadelphia Union and a comeback win over San Jose Earthquakes as well. Mauro Manotas and Alberth Elis lead the team in scoring with 15 and 11 goals respectively and Tomas Martinez serves as a dangerous playmaker in the attacking midfield role.

“They’re very explosive on the counter,” said Stefan Frei. “They have some pace; they’re not afraid to shoot from distance. I think their confidence is quite high up top… They have some guys up there that are very eager to score and don’t really care how its going to happen and that’s very dangerous.”

While Houston is still mathematically in the Western Conference playoff race it seems Dynamo need a miracle as they’ll have to take maximum points from their last four matches to have any hope of catching Real Salt Lake in the sixth and final playoff position. With two of Seattle’s next three matches against Houston, Frei dismissed the idea of treating the first match any different from the norm.

“No it doesn’t matter… We have to take it to [Houston] and we have to get three points at home,” said Frei. “It doesn’t really matter who we’re facing at this point. If we want to be ready for the playoffs, get into the playoffs, and then make a serious push then what you do at home is vital.

“All focus is on this home game and making sure that we take care of business.”

Seattle will play host to Houston this Monday night at 19:30 PT (03:30 GMT) as they look to secure their 10th-straight postseason appearance which would tie the Los Angeles Galaxy for longest streak of consecutive appearances in league history.


PHOTOS: Exclusive images of United training in Seattle, new signings featured

Manchester United start their preseason campaign on Friday night with their first International Champions Cup match taking place in Seattle against Club America.

The Red Devils then fly out to California to face the San Jose Earthquakes, before key games against FC Barcelona and Paris Saint-Germain.

New United signings Memphis Depay, Bastian Schweinsteiger, Morgan Schneiderlin and Matteo Darmian all made the trip to the United States, along with David De Gea despite ongoing exit talks.

Check out all of those players in action as our North American photographer Denise McCooey watched United train at the Seattle Seahawks’ Virginia Mason Athletic Center – the second largest training facility in the NFL:

Manchester United Training Seattle 2015 Louis Van Gaal

Manchester United Training Seattle 2015 Manchester United Training Seattle 2015 Wayne Rooney Manchester United Training Seattle 2015 Matteo Darmian Manchester United Training Seattle 2015 Schweinsteiger Manchester United Training Seattle 2015 Morgan Schneiderlin Manchester United Training Seattle 2015 Bastian Schweinsteiger Manchester United Training Seattle 2015 David De Gea Manchester United Training Seattle 2015 Memphis Depay

Seattle’s Marco Pappa now feels like “part of the Sounders family”

Marco Pappa enjoyed a good first season in Major League Soccer with Seattle Sounders in 2014, making 33 appearances and contributing six goals and five assists in the process.

The Guatemalan was speaking to the Seattle Sounders YouTube channel at preseason training ahead of the 2015 campaign that gets underway in March.

He said, “It’s good to be back with my teammates. Last year was my first year, now I feel more a part of the Sounders family.

“I feel a very, very important part of the team. They make me feel like that which is a good thing. I hope that will be good for my confidence this year.”

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The Sounders have five further preseason friendlies to play before their curtain raiser at home to New England Revolution on Sunday 8 March at CenturyLink Field. It’s a game that promises to be a fascinating encounter between two of the strongest sides from 2014.

Marco Pappa is hoping that Seattle will have another successful season and said, “I hope we can get better things this year than last year, because we are going to know each other more and now we have to show that on the pitch.”

How important will Marco Pappa be to Seattle Sounders in the 2015 MLS season?

PHOTOS: DeAndre Yedlin trains with Spurs for the first time

DeAndre Yedlin has completed his first training session with Tottenham Hotspur since arriving at the club following his move from the Seattle Sounders.

The deal was agreed back in August but Yedlin was loaned back to Seattle for the end of the 2014 MLS campaign. But he has now joined up with Mauricio Pochettino’s squad and was seen in training for the first time today.

The 21-year-old USMNT star will wear the number 12 shirt for Spurs and will look forward to making his debut, which could come sooner than he expects.

That’s because Spurs still have as many as seven more games to play before the end of the month with an FA Cup replay and a possible fourth round tie, plus three more Premier League games and a two-legged League Cup semi-final against Sheffield United.

The last few months will have felt like a dream for Yedlin who burst onto the scene at the World Cup in Brazil, and he now finds himself in the Premier League with Tottenham Hotspur.

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“It all happened so fast,” he said after his monumental rise. “I was just talking about how I wish I could go back and re-live some of those experiences now.

“These are moments that will stay with me forever. Overall, as a team, we had a pretty good World Cup. I think we definitely could have done better but I wouldn’t trade it for anything. I grew a lot as a player there.”

Will DeAndre Yedlin be a star for Tottenham in the Premier League?