There's been a bit of a lively debate around these parts recently regarding Sigi Schmid's lineup choices. Mainly, people seem to want to see more of the Seattle Sounders' young guys and less of, well, Roger Levesque, I guess. Overall, there seems to be a sense that Schmid has been overly rigid, and relied too heavily upon the the same old cast of characters. Thing is, the starting lineup that will be rolled out against FC Dallas will almost certainly be their 11th different starting group of the season.
It's maybe too easily forgotten that the hand Schmid has been dealt has been about as far from ideal as possible. Not even counting the fact that one of his starting forwards left the team just as the season was getting to start, no fewer than six regular starters have missed multiple games. The same starting lineup has been used in consecutive games just twice this season. Nineteen different players have started a game in MLS play for the Rave Green. Twenty-three have taken the pitch.
Even accounting for the current realities, such as the likelihood that Steve Zakuani is out for the season, the Sounders have not really used what would pass as a first-choice lineup all season. From Brad Evans missing the first two games to Fredy Montero recovering from wrist surgery to Nate Jaqua's struggling to get to full fitness, it has literally been one nagging issue after another for the Sounders.
This isn't to suggest any of this makes missing the playoffs or some other equally calamitous result acceptable, but I do think it's one reason to give Schmid some slack when he's picking lineups. While it might be neat to see what someone like Mike Fucito, Lamar Neagle or, even, Miguel Montano could do, this just doesn't seem to be the time to be making drastic gambles. Not only is Schmid playing with a bad hand, but the shoe from which it was dealt is missing some of the face cards.