Despite the numerous reports to the contrary (and Martins' goodbye tweet), Seattle Sounders head coach Sigi Schmid said today that a deal to send Obafemi Martins to China's Shanghai Shenhua still hasn't been finalized. Schmid therefore couldn't comment on the deal's effect on the squad, as well as any possibility of a player being brought in to take Martins' Designated Player slot on the roster.
"There's nothing final on that, so I can't really say anything," he said.
Having to dance around the Martins news, Schmid said that as can be seen in Wednesday's 4-0 friendly win over the LA Galaxy, the Sounders stuck with a 4-3-3 formation--and it worked.
"We went into the season thinking this was a good way for our team to play based on personnel." Jordan Morris was an important part of that plan, which paid off against LA as the rookie picked up two assists and was dangerous on the right wing the entire time he was on the pitch. "We've trained on it, we've tweaked it, we've changed it a little bit and gotten better about it."
Aside from the Martins situation and its repercussions, Schmid noted that while he was pleased with what he's seen from Michael Farfan thus far, we haven't seen him play in a friendly since the Feb. 3 match against the Whitecaps because he's had a slight groin injury. "He'll be back into training when we return to full training on Saturday." Schmid praised Farfan's passing ability and technical skills, also noting "the way we're playing right now, he can play any of those three midfield slots, even maybe fill in in a position up front if we need him to."
As far as the various trialists and young players that the Sounders have had in preseason camp, Schmid says that they're moving forward on deciding who to sign for the upcoming season from that group. He said that in the closed-doors friendly against "good, quality" Seongnam FC of the Korean K-League Classic, the Sounders fielded a lineup with only one player over 24 in the lineup. Schmid said it was a goal for the Sounders this year to start getting younger, and that he was "really pleased with the young players and how they played and performed." The Sounders won the 70-minute match 2-1 with goals from Zach Mathers and Darwin Jones.
No decisions have been made, but Schmid said that it's been tough and that he's glad the club has until March 1 to finalize its roster.