Sounders FC rookies have trained, adapted to the pro game and reveled in their first exposure to Sounders fans.
Tonight, they will cross another eagerly awaited threshold as the Sounders make their 2011 debut at Qwest Field.
“This place is amazing,” rookie defender Servando Carrasco said this week as he trained at Qwest for the first time. “It’s a beautiful stadium. I can’t imagine what it’s like with 35,00 people chanting the entire game. We’re very excited to finally play here.”
The Sounders will kick off at 7 p.m. today in their final training game of the preseason, meeting the MLS Cup champion Colorado Rapids in the annual Community Shield charity match at Qwest Field. Plenty of general admission tickets remain available priced at $10 for adults, $5 for children ages 6-17.
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That crowd of 35,000-plus that Carrasco mentioned won’t arrive until Tuesday, when Seattle opens its third MLS regular season with the First Kick match against the Los Angeles Galaxy.
Carrasco and fellow rookie Michael Tetteh said they can hardly imagine what that will be like, given how impressed they were with the crowds of 3,100 that jammed Starfire Sports Stadium in Tukwila to watch the Sounders’ two weekend matches.
“I played in college, and we had a lot of fans,” said Tetteh, a midfielder from UC Santa Barbara. “But coming here and playing in front of those fans, it just makes you want to work hard and play and kill yourself for those fans. Rain or shine they are out there chanting, screaming out loud and being there for us.”
Neither rookie played Friday when coach Sigi Schmid went mostly with his first 11 in a 2-0 loss to Portland. However, both started in the 3-2 loss to Vancouver on Sunday.
“Personally, I felt I did all right,” Carrasco said. “There are certain parts of my game that I can definitely improve on. As a team, there were some positives and some negatives. We can’t give up those soft goals. But it’s something that we’re working on, and I’m very confident that the team is going to fix it, because that’s what we’re here to do. We’re here to improve every single day and accomplish the goals that we’ve set for each other.”
Tetteh, the Sounders’ top pick in the 2011 SuperDraft, had said early in training that the biggest difference between college and MLS is the speed. Now, before the final training game, he believes that he is catching up.
“It’s about a team, but at the same time, I’m a rookie. I want to get on the first team. I’m looking after myself,” he said. “But I have been getting a lot of feedback from the players and the coaches, and everybody is very welcoming. The speed of play, it is very fast, but they’re putting us on the right track, and we train very well, and I feel like I’m adjusting very well.”
The Sounders’ preseason record stands at 4-4-2. After the pair of losses over the weekend, coach Sigi Schmid seems to like the idea of not only playing better but also heading into the regular season on a winning note.
Michael Fucito (hip) is expected to miss three to six weeks. Michael Seamon (leg) could return to training before the week is out. ... Former Sounders Sanna Nyassi and Tyrone Marshall now play for Colorado.