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Johnson plays 35 and Martinez goes 90 in National Team duty

With the National Team absences over for now, Sigi Schmid will face challenging lineup decisions for an MLS road game Saturday and a vital CONCACAF Champions League semifinal on Tuesday.

Eddie Johnson faces an nine day travel schedule of Seattle-Denver-Mexico City-Seattle-Salt Lake-Seattle
Eddie Johnson faces an nine day travel schedule of Seattle-Denver-Mexico City-Seattle-Salt Lake-Seattle

The United States earned their extraordinarily rare point at Azteca with Eddie Johnson putting in 35 minutes all the way up top unlike his past matches for Jurgen Klinsmann. Midfielder Mario Martinez played the full 90 for Honduras in their road loss to Panama. The two performances may help long term recruiting for Hanauer & Co, but right now they create lineup questions for Sigi Schmid.

"That's something that we're still looking at. Obviously we want to wait until we see how the National Team games go today, to see how many minutes people put on their backs," Schmid said after Tuesday's practice. "If a guy like Mario who played 82, 83 minutes in game one plays 90 minutes tonight in Panama it's probably going to be tough for him to play Saturday and Tuesday. So we've got to make a decision there. We'll see how much Eddie plays whether we think he can go Saturday/Tuesday. Certainly a guy like Evans coming off injury can't go Saturday/Tuesday at this stage so we've got to balance it off a little bit and see what we have."

It will be a tough balance. The Seattle Sounders are without their first win and face one of their toughest on pitch rivals on Saturday. Real Salt Lake's star striker, Alvaro Saborio, did go 90 in his nation's win over Jamaica, but they do not have the midweek match next week. They should not be as reduced as Seattle.

But, the Sounders are regularly praised for their depth. Those depth players earned some play early in the season, but have yet to win an MLS match. Scoring is at unacceptable rate, though chances are being created. One boost to scoring should be Nigerian striker Obafemi Martins who will have his first training session with the club this week.

How Sigi manages the XI and 18 for these two key matches could be the deciding factor on what taste March leaves in fans' mouths.

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