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Sounders Getting Close To Full Strength

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Together again?
Together again?

Who knows if we'll ever see a fully fit Seattle Sounders team, but Saturday's match against Real Salt Lake will be the closest they've been since the season opener. Of the outfield players not on the disabled list, only Patrick Ianni is still dealing with significant health issues. His back apparently acted up on the flight to Dallas and he's now undergoing an MRI to determine the injury's seriousness.

Otherwise, the Sounders are looking pretty darn fit, all things considered. Sounders coach Sigi Schmid declared that Alvaro Fernandez should at least be on the bench Saturday and there apparently weren't any other new injuries acquired in Dallas.

"Yeah, I think Flaco is ready," Schmid said. "The only question for us is whether we start him or we bring him off the bench, because the other concern you have as a coach now is, as you put together your starting lineup Flaco is ready and healthy, but probably not healthy for 90 minutes. So you have to look at, if that’s one sub, this guy maybe carrying this injury so that’s another sub.

"So you have to balance it between -- you don’t want to start two, three guys that you know you have to sub because then something unexpected happens and you’re left short or you’re forcing a guy to play through something that he may not want to. That’s a decision we have to make but he’s ready to return in this game."

Based on that statement, I think we can make the assumption that at least one of Fernandez, Eddie Johnson and Mauro Rosales isn't going to start. All three of those guys would almost certainly require a substitute and it seems highly unlikely that the Sounders would risk having to play anyone of them 90 minutes in case of an injury somewhere else.

My luck at guessing lineups has not bee so good during this little run, but here's what I foresee:

GK: Bryan Meredith. No brainer. Even with a healthy Andrew Weber, Meredith is playing too well not to give him a shot.

LB: Marc Burch. This is a bit of a gamble, but Leo Gonzalez struggled mightily against RSL the last time he played them.

CBs: Jeff Parke and Jhon Kennedy Hurtado. Put this in the bank.

RB: Adam Johansson. Would have started anyway, but with Zach Scott out, it's a no-brainer.

LM: David Estrada. Seems like bringing Flaco off the bench makes a little more sense.

DCM: Osvaldo Alonso. Well rested and ready to rock.

CM: Brad Evans. Should be good to go.

RM: Rosales. After only playing 45 minutes on Wednesday, should be able to put in a solid 70.

F: Fredy Montero. He's heating up.

F: Johnson. I think Schmid wants to get as many games with Montero and Johnson together as possible and this should be the best test yet.