Having come off two deflating losses to the most in-form teams in all of MLS, the Seattle Sounders will be hoping to turn their fortunes around on their two-game East Coast trip that starts at the New England Revolution on Saturday. The Sounders are without starter Clint Dempsey for these matches, forcing Sigi Schmid to adjust his tactics based on available personnel.
Seattle will also be without the services of youngster Oalex Anderson, who was forced off the field against Colorado just minutes after coming into the match in the second half. Schmid said that Anderson had an MRI done this week, which showed that he had suffered a hamstring strain. "So we'll see how it progresses, but he's obviously going to be out for this road trip."
It wasn't all bad news on the injury front, though.
After missing last week's game, defender Chad Marshall participated in training on Tuesday, doing "everything we needed him to do today." Nothing is certain just yet, and we should have a better idea on Wednesday, but Schmid said that Marshall "should be OK for this trip."
The Sounders took an extra day off on Monday of this week, which according to Schimd was to let his players rest up before being away from their families for a full week. "We've got a stretch of games, we won't have another day off until Thursday but when you're off on the road it's not really like a day off. You're not at home, you're not with your family. Beginning today, we'll all be together until next Thursday."
The Sounders don't often get a chance to have two East Coast matches within a few days of each other, and Schmid said that the way it was scheduled is very positive for his team. "Playing Saturday [and then] Wednesday is better than going Wednesday to Saturday, because sometimes when you're playing at the back end, you don't know if the team you're playing played Wednesday or not. But generally the team you play on a Wednesday probably played on the weekend before." He said that the trip itself is a little awkward, having to stay on instead of being able to head back home, but it seems like Schmid hopes a win on Saturday can give them the momentum to turn around and beat DC United just a few days later.
With Dempsey, Valdez, and Anderson all unavailable for the next two matches, Schmid stands by the depth in his squad and hopes that guys step up when given opportunities. He praised Herculez Gomez, Aaron Kovar, and Cristian Roldan for what they've done when given opportunities; It's reasonable to expect that all three players will start at least one of the next two matches. Schmid also mentioned the potential addition of Dylan Remick to the lineup, so that Joevin Jones can be pushed up onto the wing -- the Sounders did this late in the game against the Rapids and it seemed to work fairly well. Schmid just said that he was glad to have "different options" like that, especially when key players aren't available.
Regarding the New England Revolution, who were beaten 4-2 by FC Dallas last weekend, Schmid said that their opponents on Saturday will "be pissed off, they're going to come in and play hard and really concentrate this week on defending and not giving up goals." This could make it that much more difficult for the Sounders, who Schmid admits haven't been scoring as many goals as they should. He said that despite the vengeance that the Revolution will likely be seeking on Saturday, the Sounders aren't focused on that. Schmid simply said "it's all about us and what we do."