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Saturday, February 2, 2013 - Page updated at 07:30 p.m.
Sounders' Schmid still looking to fill spots at forward, defense
By Joshua Mayers
Seattle Times staff reporter
The MLS season starts in one month, and Sounders FC still has several personnel issues to consider, both in the short term and beyond.
Coach Sigi Schmid expressed as much in a conference call Friday while the team continues preseason in Casa Grande, Ariz.
Center back is an immediate concern as a preseason foot injury to Patrick Ianni has left Seattle without much depth. In response, the team brought in Canadian international Mason Trafford for a tryout and is continuing to look at options around the league.
A more long-term matter is at forward, where the Sounders must replace the production of Fredy Montero. The franchise's all-time leading scorer is on loan at Colombia's Millonarios for the 2013 season.
"We're still looking at possible DP options up there," Schmid said, referring to high-priced designated players. "We haven't stopped searching for that."
Meanwhile, David Estrada and Sammy Ochoa — who each had strong moments in 2012 — are the top returners up front with Eddie Johnson on international duty.
"We feel in the near term that we have enough quality to get by in that position, but there are certainly a lot of guys who have opportunities to show for (themselves) and opportunities to earn playing time," Schmid said.
There is more opportunity for fringe players to participate in camp with four potential starters out on international duty.
Defender Adam Johansson is with the Swedish national team and isn't expected to join Seattle until late next week. Same goes for midfielder Mario Martinez, a Honduran international.
Johnson and midfielder Brad Evans were with the U.S. national team for an exhibition Tuesday against Canada and will learn Monday if they'll stay for Wednesday's World Cup qualifier in Honduras.
Schmid said he didn't know when Johnson and Evans will report to the Sounders but noted the team doesn't expect the duo to be available "in the next few days."
• Tickets for the 2013 season go on sale at 10 a.m. Monday and will be available through the Sounders' website, Ticketmaster, the CenturyLink Field box office or by calling 800-745-3000.
• Schmid said the team has no plans to bring Cordell Cato into camp. Seattle declined to pick up the 20-year-old's contract option after last season but left the door open for a preseason invite.
• Supplemental draft pick Will Bates is expected to join the team Saturday but won't be available to play for a couple weeks coming off knee surgery. Midfielder Kevin Durr, who still has commitments with the Air Force Academy, could join preseason briefly when the team is in Tucson (Feb. 11-23).
• Reign FC will pick second in the NWSL's six-round supplemental draft on Feb. 7. The draft order is in reverse of teams' perceived strength due to injuries or absences to international players on the roster. Forward Amy Rodriguez, for example, is pregnant and will miss the 2013 season, while Megan Rapinoe and Teresa Noyola will play in Europe to start the year.
Joshua Mayers: 206-464-3184 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
On Twitter @joshuamayers
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