Seattle taking a look at former Euro player

SOUNDERS: Veteran Eidur Gudjohnsen has top-notch résumé

don.ruiz@thenewstribune.comSeptember 6, 2012 

Forward/midfielder Eidur Gudjohnsen has played with world-class clubs such as Chelsea and Barcelona.

This week, he is training with Seattle Sounders FC as both club and player determine if they offer the right fit for Gudjohnsen to continue his 18-season professional career.

“This one was a little bit out of the blue,” general manager Adrian Hanauer said Wednesday. “We were contacted by his representation, and any time you get a chance to look at a player of Eidur’s quality … you jump at it.”

Gudjohnsen’s representatives did not make him available to speak to reporters after the Wednesday session.

However, coach Sigi Schmid said he saw flashes of what he could contribute.

“You can tell he’s a good player,” Schmid said. “You can tell by the touches and the movement and so forth. … He’s a strong guy. He can post up. He can hold the ball. He finds his little options off of that.”

The plan is for Gudjohnsen to train with the club through Friday, watch the Sounders play Chivas USA at CenturyLink Field on Saturday, and then play with the Sounders in their MLS Reserve League match against Chivas at 11 a.m. Sunday at Starfire Sports Stadium in Tukwila.

“We have a lot of talk left to do,” Hanauer said, “but we didn’t bring him in to sign him next year, necessarily. We brought him in because we think there’s a chance we could still do something this year.”

Gudjohnsen, 33, was born in Reykjavik, Iceland, and has 24 goals in 68 appearances with the national team.

He began his professional career with Valur Reykjavik in 1994 before going on to clubs such Bolton, Monaco, Tottenham, Stoke City and Fulham. In 2004, he recorded a goal and an assist in Chelsea’s 4-2 friendly win over Celtic in Seattle. In 2009, he played the second half of Barcelona’s 4-0 friendly win over the Sounders.

He signed a two-year contract with AEK Athens last summer, just as goalkeeper Michael Gspurning was leaving the Greek league for MLS.

“I saw the game when he scored against Xanthi, but I wasn’t playing in this game,” Gspurning said. “… What I saw in the game was great, impressive.”

However, in October, Gudjohnsen suffered a fractured tibia and fibula – the same injuries suffered last season by Sounders midfielder Steve Zakuani – and he missed the remainder of the season.

In July, player and club reached an agreement to end the contract. His search for a new club led him this week to MLS and Seattle.

ADDED TIME

David Estrada (foot) and Andy Rose (ribs) participated in group training Wednesday, while defender Osvaldo Alonso (head) went through light individual work. Schmid said Alonso was scheduled for a concussion test Wednesday afternoon, and the club was confident he will be cleared to return. … Schmid said starting forward Eddie Johnson did not accompany the team on either leg of its Trinidad/Texas trip last week partly due to an adductor issue and partly to give him a break before the final eight weeks of the MLS season. … Schmid said Leo Gonzalez is having a season that ranks him among the top left backs in MLS.

don.ruiz@thenewstribune.com 253-597-8808 blog.thenewstribune.com/soccer @donruiztnt

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