The good news on the injury front for the Seattle Sounders is they didn’t come out of their big 3-0 win over FC Dallas on Sunday with any new ones to report. The bad news is that of the injured starters who didn’t play, none have returned to full training as of yet.
Roman Torres is dealing with a hamstring issue. Andreas Ivanschitz has a knee injury. And, Flaco Fernandez seems to still be dealing with a hamstring strain from earlier this month. Schmetzer said all three players are “day by day” as of Tuesday. He said they’re really “pushing” for all three to be available this weekend, but that it’s otherwise “all hands on deck.”
Osvaldo Alonso was substituted in the second half against Dallas in order to keep him from getting a second yellow card, and to help Brad Evans get some minutes on the pitch. Evans is still trying to reach full fitness after a series of injuries have kept him out of the starting lineup since Aug. 28.
“We’re working on it, we’re doing everything we can to get him ready to start,” Schmetzer said about Evans.
Although the upcoming international break should help the Sounders’ health situation — assuming they advance — everyone won’t be getting the same rest. Nicolas Lodeiro (Uruguay), Jordan Morris (United States), Joevin Jones (Trinidad and Tobago) and Roman Torres (Panama) could all potentially have two World Cup qualifiers to play during that time. But Schmetzer stressed the Sounders are not “overly concerned” by the prospect of losing players during the international break.
Even if Torres is unable to play this weekend, Schmetzer made it clear he was happy with Zach Scott’s shift in central defense on Sunday. The same goes for Nelson Valdez, who scored his second goal of the season in his start against FC Dallas. But even though he was pleased with how those players played, Schmetzer said the team comes first when selecting his starting XI. “The guys that are healthy and in the starting group, they’re going to play,” Schmetzer said. “I have to make those decisions based on everybody’s health, but also to make sure we win this game.”
That’s what it all comes down to, because Schmetzer’s squad has no intention to park the bus or play for a draw in the second leg of the conference semifinals. The Sounders coach has already watched film with his players, pointing out all the things they need to improve on, because they are going to Dallas looking for only one result: a win. “We’re gonna try and win the game. We’ve said that over and over.”
If they do win the series on aggregate, however that happens, the Sounders will have nearly two weeks to rest and prepare for the conference finals. This means that there is no reason for the team to rest on their laurels or play for a draw—Schmetzer intends to play his absolute best starting XI and go to Dallas ready to score goals and win the match.