Sounders Update: Nkufo In D.C., Ljungberg Home With Ankle Injury

Bill HareCorrespondent IJuly 14, 2010

PORT ELIZABETH, SOUTH AFRICA - JUNE 21:  Blaise Nkufo of Switzerland lines up for the national anthems prior to the the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa Group H match between Chile and Switzerland at Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium on June 21, 2010 in Port Elizabeth, South Africa.  (Photo by Stuart Franklin/Getty Images)
Stuart Franklin/Getty Images

Wednesday at 3 p.m. the Seattle Sounders held a teleconference featuring Coach Sigi Schmid and his newest player, international star Blaise Nkufo.

The international transfer involving Nkufo enabling him to play for the Sounders is expected to go through. He will then be eligible for play beginning Thursday, July 15, when the team faces D.C. United.

After a rest following his activity with Switzerland’s national team in the recently concluded World Cup, where he played a role in helping the Swiss gain the only win over ultimate champion Spain, Nkufo arrived in Washington, D.C. and Wednesday had his first workout with the Sounders.

“I felt good after the workout and am anxious to help my new team,” Nkufo said.

When asked about Nkufo’s status for Thursday night’s D.C. United clash, Coach Sigi Schmid pointed out that since the Sounders’ newest player just had his first workout today, he definitely would not be starting. Schmid did not rule out the prospect of Nkufo seeing some action.

While news is positive on the Blaise Nkufo front, Schmid disclosed that winger Freddie Ljungberg did not travel with the team to the nation’s capital.

The ankle injury that occurred in the team’s final practice session before the FC Dallas game and prevented him from playing Sunday night has not healed in time for him to face D.C. United.

When asked about what to expect from D.C. United, Schmid noted that the Sounders would keep a close watch on Chris Pontius. The midfielder scored two goals at Seattle June 10 in the first meeting of the season between the teams in a 3-2 D.C. United win.

Pontius was given credit for an additional score, which was later determined to be an own goal.

Sigi Schmid once again stressed the urgency of securing wins on the road if the team hopes to make the playoffs this season, as it did in its first MLS campaign in 2009.

With 14 contests remaining in the MLS season the Sounders have compiled 16 points. Schmid recently estimated that it would take 45 points to make the playoffs.

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