The Seattle Sounders will be a bit short-handed when they return to league action against first-place FC Dallas on March 28. Marco Pappa (Guatemala) became the third Sounders player to be called in for the upcoming international date, joining Clint Dempsey (United States) and Micheal Azira (Uganda) to join their respective national teams for the March 23-31 window.
The good news, at least, is that Pappa won't have to leave the United States. Guatemala plays Canada in a closed-door friendly in Florida on March 27 and then will face El Salvador on March 31 at StubHub Center.
While MLS has long claimed that it would be inconvenient to schedule around FIFA dates, this year that excuse rings a bit hollow. Unlike previous seasons in which bye-weeks were a necessity due to the odd number of teams, that's no longer true after New York City FC and Orlando City gave the league 20 sides. The Sounders, for instance, have two scheduled bye weeks during the season, including this season. The Sounders also have a bye week in mid-October, which does happen to coincide with the Oct. 5-13 FIFA window. The Sounders do, however, have three matches scheduled during the CONCACAF Gold Cup from July 7-26.