In a preseason that is a bit lighter on number of games, and this week quite crowded, only two combinations of potential starting forwards have seen the pitch at this point. During tonight's preseason friendly against Veracruz the Seattle Sounders will field a third combo in Eddie Johnson and Mauro Rosales.
"Tonight we want to see Eddie Johnson play together with Rosales upfront with Estrada playing together with Rosales the other night," Sigi Schmid said during a conference call with Seattle based reporters. "We want to look at different combinations up there."
While not spoken, this almost certainly means that Mario Martinez will start as the right midfielder. Mario is the player most ready to start the season well according to Schmid.
"He's the guy that's played the most 90 minute games already. He's already got three under his belt. His fitness is pretty good. His sharpness is pretty good. He's a good quality player that when he plays with us in the midfield he's different than Mauro," Sigi said. "He's different than Steve in that he's more of a playmaker. He's left footed, but he's certainly a guy that's a good passer of the ball and help start some plays off."
While many fans may want to see Martinez as a forward the coach thinks that he's seen enough variety in forward pairing this preseason. The starters will only have three matches starting together and one massive line-shift substitution, but the coaching staff also sees the team practice. Sigi noted, "some of the combinations we've obviously seen in our inter-squad games as well."
With the candidates for forward all being returning players no stone went unturned, even if not tested in matches. Barring a move it seems that Sigi's 4-4-2 will be even more 4-2-3-1 like with Rosales playing underneath Johnson, as long as it looks like it works during tonight's match.
Unfortunately for Seattle fans, that match is not being streamed.
- Shalrie Joseph is possible tonight, but more likely to play tomorrow.
- Adam Johansson is probably out for both matches.
- Ianni is the only other likely starter still injured. He may wind up on the Injured List, but the decision will be made late next week.
- Sodade is carrying an injury and Will Bates joined drills as a neutral.