On paper, the Seattle Sounders have an embarrassment of riches in terms of talent. When everyone is fit and healthy, head coach Sigi Schmid will have a genuinely hard time figuring out his starters.
This will not be that week.
While the Sounders are still looking better than they were a couple weeks ago, several key components were almost certainly left in Seattle when the rest of the team traveled for Saturday's match against Real Salt Lake. Most notably, Clint Dempsey and Osvaldo Alonso are still healing.
"Don't know when they'll get back, but they're getting better everyday," Schmid told the media on Thursday.
Similarly, the debut of Andreas Ivanschitz is going to need to wait a little while longer, too.
Here's what Schmid said when asked if this might be the week Ivanschitz plays: "I don't think so. The [quadriceps] injury is a little worse than we first thought. We're trying to slow down and [Thursday] will be an evaluation day. But this weekend is probably too early."
What this all means is that Brad Evans will almost certainly start in place of Alonso alongside Erik Friberg; Nelson Haedo Valdez will likely be up top with Obafemi Martins; and two of Andy Rose, Thomás, Cristian Roldan and Lamar Neagle will start as wide midfielders.