Take a look at this photo (h/t @coulterchris) that recently appeared on SoundersFC.com. You'll find 18 Seattle Sounders. You'll also notice some conspicuous absences. Among the players not in this photo taken prior to Tuesday's CONCACAF Champions League group stage match against Monterrey are Fredy Montero, Kasey Keller, Mauro Rosales and Jhon Kennedy Hurtado. (@chamberiECS head-counted here)
I don't want to jump the gun, but I'd say there's a pretty good chance none of those players are going to be in the 18. I suppose that's not hugely surprising. With the Sounders in the middle of a 35-day stretch in which they will play 10 games in three countries in three different competitions, we all knew there were going to have to be some tough lineup decisions for Sigi to make. He alluded to some of those tough when he spoke on Sunday.
"For us it’s important that we balance off our work and our rest because we have two big games coming up when we come back: Columbus at home because we want to keep pushing the point total, and then we’ve got the Open Cup semifinal," Schmid said. "Winning in Monterrey is going to be a tough task, no matter what squad we send out there, but we feel we’ve got a good mix of players, where we can send out some players with experience who maybe haven’t played as many minutes as the other guys."
Like most of you, I was really hoping to see us go for the win in Mexico. Even without those four players, the Sounders are still capable of pulling out the victory. But I'd be lying if I said the task won't be harder.
Once I got over that initial disappointment, though, I have to admit I see the logic. The MLS games against FC Dallas and the Columbus Crew, as well as next week's USOC semi are all more important than a early group stage game in Mexico. Considering the temperature for Saturday's game was over 100 degrees and Tuesday's game is supposed to be similar, fatigue is a real issue.
Given this reality, I'm wondering how you would have played it. Would you have rather seen a weakened side play against the Crew on Saturday? Do you agree with Sigi's choice? Also wondering who you'd like to see start given this group of players?