Seattle Sounders head coach Sigi Schmid is very comfortable knowing that his two Designated Players will be around from the start of pre-season this time around.
Swiss striker Blaise Nkufo and Uruguayan midfielder Alvaro Fernandez both had an interrupted season at club level with the Sounders but will be right to kick off with the rest of the squad for season 2011 preparations.
"It's tough for Alvaro and for Blaise to come off a European season, a World Cup, very little time off, it makes for a long year,” he told the Seattle Times.
“For Alvaro, it may be especially tough because his family was down in Uruguay the whole time and they had a child and I think he has seen his child like a day and a half.
“I think all of those things ware on you to certain extent. But certainly having those guys around for preseason, having [Brad] Evans back into the fold, having [Jhon] Kennedy [Hurtado] back into the fold, to a certain extent it's almost like picking up four new guys.”