Chad Marshall and Nelson Haedo Valdez, the two most notable absences from the Seattle Sounders lineup on Sunday, could potentially be ready for Oct. 18th's away clash at the Houston Dynamo, head coach Sigi Schmid said following Tuesday's training session. Since the Sounders have this weekend off, Schmid hopes that the extra rest and rehab time will get the pair fresh and ready to go the following week.
Schmid noted that such a late bye week is a little bit of a scheduling quirk, but admits that it does give his team some time to rest and heal up before the final matches that will decide the Sounders' playoff fate. The squad gets the weekend off after training during the week, and while the coach wants his players to be rested, he also hopes they stay active and fit. "Go for a walk, go for a hike, play some tennis, maybe golf...if you don't stay in the cart. But you know, just get your mind awake."
As far as Chad Marshall's injury goes, Schmid said "it's not a concussion, so that's good. It's just a matter of the neck pain and finding out what will decrease that pain. But it's already decreased a lot."
Valdez was kept inside during training as a precaution only. An MRI showed nothing serious with the calf strain for which Valdez had been pulled from the lineup at the last minute on Sunday. The other notable first team absence, Oniel Fisher, was seen running around the training ground but not participating with the rest of the squad. Fisher missed the Sounders' last game with a hamstring strain.
At the very least, having Marshall and Valdez back for what could be a tough away match at Houston could be key to the Sounders' playoff hopes. Marshall's replacement Zach Scott, while a fine player and dedicated club servant, gave away the ball to create the Galaxy's lone goal on Sunday. Valdez's absence allowed Chad Barrett to play, and saved the club's blushes after scoring the dramatic equalizer in injury time. Sure, Barrett proved to be more than adequate, but the Sounders might not have needed him to do it had Valdez been able to start the match.