TUKWILA, Wash. — On any given day, there are a handful of Seattle Sounders players hanging around after the main training session working on various aspects of their games. For the most part, they are reserves or players coming back from injury.
David Estrada is an exception.
Even after scoring four goals and starting each of the Sounders’ first five games of the season, Estrada is still among the team’s hardest workers both in games and in training. After almost every training session, he’s one of the guys carrying a bag of balls back to the locker room.
“Yeah,” Estrada said with a grin, “I still do everything.”
It’s that kind of work ethic that bodes well for Estrada as the Sounders slowly get to full health and the competition for minutes tightens up, especially up front.
“It’s the same attitude,” Estrada said. “Any chance anyone on this team gets to get on the field is an opportunity. Throughout the season, everyone is going to get their opportunity. At some point, everyone is going to have to go to the bench, and I think everyone is just ready.”
Estrada has admitted that he struggled with confidence at various times early in his career. But after seeing some real success and proving he can play at this level, Sounders coaches seem to think that he’s well equipped to handle these new challenges.
“He’s done this consistently for the last two-and-a-half years,” Sounder assistant coach Brian Schmetzer said. “Whether it was a reserve match or yesterday when we were in our office and he wanted to review some film, he puts a lot of effort into getting his arms around the mental side of the game.
“His mental toughness is pretty strong. He’s been at the bottom, he knows what it’s like,” Schmetzer added. “He’s had that taste of success, so I don’t think his work rate, his effort, his confidence will dip too far.”
Those struggles should suit him well in another way, too: versatility. His two career MLS starts prior to this season were as a wide midfielder and as a fullback. He also saw extensive time as a central midfielder during Reserve League games a year ago.
This year, he’s seen time at forward and wide midfielder.
“We love David’s attitude; he never complains and he’s versatile,” Schmetzer said. “That probably means he’ll get more opportunities during the year. He’ll get more chances.”
Jeremiah Oshan covers the Seattle Sounders for MLSsoccer.com and SB Nation.