As the Seattle Sounders prepare to head down to Los Angeles for a key road match against the Galaxy, head coach Brian Schmetzer praised his squad for their enthusiasm on the training pitch as of late. On Thursday, Schmetzer said that “training was a little longer than normal because they were into training, so that’s always a good sign.” Despite the uncertainty surrounding captain Brad Evans going into the weekend, Schmetzer is very pleased with his defense as a whole.
The partnership of Roman Torres and Chad Marshall has “turned out to be pretty good” so far, according to Schmetzer. Most fans probably expected Torres to be a starter upon his return, though it was probably hastened a bit by Evans’ recent injury struggles. Schmetzer said that Torres and Marshall are “pretty darn good soccer players,” but admits that “how they’re meshing together is certainly a work in progress.”
The Sounders have started Marshall and Evans for most of the season, due in part to Torres’ injury and absence. They were solid, for the most part, but it was always likely that Torres would displace Evans upon his return. There was a cohesion about them that often helped even out any mistakes or weaknesses in the defense.
Schmetzer sees Torres and Marshall as his ideal pairing, hoping that the two center backs can learn from each other and grow into one of the most imposing duos in the league. “I love having two big, strong, aggressive center backs. That puts a smile on my face.”
As for Evans’ availability against LA (he could potentially start at right-back or in midfield), Schmetzer said that the team is trying “to incorporate him slowly and make sure we are doing right by him and right by the team.” It seems that Schmetzer only wants to bring Evans into the equation if absolutely necessary—seemingly because he’s not as essential to the starting XI as he was for much of 2016. “We have a good team and he’s an important part of it. Just making sure that those two pieces fit.”
There are no updates on Clint Dempsey yet, though he has not been in training this week. Aaron Kovar is available for selection after recently returning to full training after his collarbone injury. Whether or not he’s selected is “up to the coaching staff making that determination and selection,” according to Schmetzer, who praised the young midfielder’s work ethic. “But he’s come along great, the kid never stops working, he’s still out there now. That’s just a benefit for us.”