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Seattle banking on Swiss striker

Blaise Nkufo, who joined the Seattle Sounders after playing for Switzerland in the 2010 World Cup, showed signs that he will give the Sounders' attack a boost during his 60-minute appearance in their 2-1 friendly loss to Celtic.

"I was impressed with his ability to hold the ball up, and that's going to be so important for Seattle," said ESPN analyst Kyle Martino. "With all of the ability the Sounders have on their squad, having a forward they know can hold the ball up so they can commit more players forward, that's going to bring Seattle up to the kind of team we saw early this season and a lot of last season."

With 14 games left in the regular season, Nkufo is exactly the midseason shot in the arm the longshot Sounders need to make a playoff run, writes columnist Steve Kelley. Seattle coach Sigi Schmid said of the 6-foot-2 striker, "As his fitness improves and as his touch improves, I think we're going to have a lot of fun.

Nkufo has had just two training sessions with his new teammates since the World Cup in which the Swiss exited in the first round despite upsetting eventual champ Spain, 1-0, in their opener.

Read the whole story at Seattle Times »

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