Ljungberg will be making his first appearance at the Xbox pitch of Qwest Field since his recent trade from Seattle on Saturday night when his new team the Chicago Fire faces the Sounders in an important MLS match.
Seattle Sounders Coach Sigi Schmid talked about the team’s former all-star midfielder Freddie Ljungberg following Thursday’s training session at the team’s facility in the Seattle suburb of Tukwila.
“It’s emotional, for sure, because he was a member of this team and he was a very important member of this team and helped us get off to a tremendous start,” Shmid said regarding Ljungberg’s return. “But, at the end of the day, he is not on our team right now and he is with Chicago. We need to worry about our team and about winning the game and he is going to be worried about winning the game for his side.”
Much has been written lately about how the Sounders changed as a team after the Ljungberg trade, a period that saw Seattle acquire two major players on the international market, Blaise Nkufo and Alvaro Fernandez. Schmid addressed the question of Seattle performance following Ljungberg’s departure.
“We stepped into a good run right after he left,” Schmid said. “But, can you say that’s because he left? I don’t think so. I think we might of hit a good run as well. We played some good games early on in the season where we just didn’t finish. But we played some good soccer and did some good things (recently).
“Sometimes things for whatever reasons, just like a marriage, sometimes things don’t entirely work out the way you want them. On the same token, it doesn’t mean one side is wrong or right or that there is a benefit for this side or for that side. I think it’s just one of those things that happened. Right now, like I said, our focus is on our team.”
In concluding his post-workout comments, Schmid turned his attention to Nkufo and Fernandez, the Sounders’ recently acquired players.
“Obviously Blaise is still looking for his first goal,” Schmid said. “I know he would like to get that one behind him. But he has helped us with our hold-up play up front and getting people involved in the offensive play.
“I think Fernandez came in and scored some big goals early on, coming on as a sub. I think right now he is still finding his fitness, finding his legs. I thought his game the other night against Monterrey was much better than his game down in Marathón. I think he is finding his connection to the team much better right now.”