Seattle Sounders coach Sigi Schmid said at Friday's training session that he expects the Houston Dynamo to "come out in an aggressive posture" on Sunday, as the home side will be desperate for even more desperate for a win than the Sounders, who could settle for a draw if needed. But don't expect the Schmid to play for that draw, as he'd like his team to "wrap up our own destiny" with a win in Houston.
Schmid admitted that he will be checking the result of Friday's San Jose Earthquakes-Sporting Kansas City match, as a San Jose loss
win would clinch a playoff berth for the Sounders, but he said such a result is unlikely to alter his approach to Sunday's match. "Going into the playoffs you want to have a good rhythm, and we haven't lost in our last six so we don't intend on losing in these last two."
Note: this story was originally written prior to the San Jose win.
The Sounders have a number of players returning from international duty this week, including captain Brad Evans who returned to full training today. Evans last played for the United States national team in Tuesday's loss to Costa Rica, so Schmid fully expects him to be ready to play on Sunday.
Marco Pappa also returned from international duty with Guatemala, and was kept inside today after having suffered an apparent hamstring injury during Guatemala's match with El Salvador earlier this week. Schmid minimized the severity of that injury, saying that Pappa should be fine for next week against Real Salt Lake but is unlikely to feature against Houston. Oniel Fisher and Leo Gonzalez are still apparently dealing with injuries, as Schmid hinted that Dylan Remick could feature against Houston, and has "kept his head up and trained well."
The bye week was "good for our spirit," Schmid said, and that the squad has worked hard this week and the rest helped refresh a number of players. The session was a bit lighter today, focusing on small side scrimmages and light fitness work, as the team departed for Houston immediately after the session.
On the report that Obafemi Martins could be called up by the Nigerian national team for the first time in two years next month, Schmid didn't seem too surprised. "He's played well since he's come here, he's been very effective in this league." Schmid said that Martins knows Nigeria coach Sunday Oliseh rather well, and that if he Oliseh decides to recall Martins, it would be a "tremendous opportunity" for the player.
Houston Dynamo manager Owen Coyle is wrapping up his first season in MLS this year, having last managed English club Wigan Athletic before being hired by the Dynamo last year. Schmid wasn't short on praise for Coyle, "Owen's a good guy. I love talking to him, he's got a great spirit about him." Regarding Coyle's rather average first season in MLS, Schmid was sympathetic, "our league's different, you've gotta learn a little bit...they've had some unfortunate results like every team has sometimes. But I think he's embraced it much better than some foreign coaches have."