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Harry Shipp needs to bring quiet utility into next start

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Against Vancouver Shipp will need to be just as good as he was against Colorado

Max Aquino / Sounder at Heart

TUKWILA, Wash. -- In the win over the Colorado Rapids there was a quiet, but useful performance by Harry Shipp. The rotational player hadn’t started in three months and had only played 15 minutes in that time due to injury and the competition for depth minutes. But he earned the start by getting back to health and being just what was needed to amplify the impact of Kelvin Leerdam at right back and Nicolas Lodeiro as the box-to-box guy.

Seattle Sounders played a significant portion of the match down a man, but Shipp’s ability to be a hybrid b2b and attacking midfielder that defends space was a subtle and necessary key. He was a support player, quiet and necessary (Realio’s Ratings).

“Obviously the game was a little different because we were down a guy, so I ended up a little more defensive than was intended, but if I’m going to be on the field I’m going to do whatever I can to help the team,” he told Sounder at Heart after Friday’s practice. “For me, I’ve got the confidence after being injured for a few months and the confidence being back playing, in practice, to play well offensively, defensively so I believe I have the ability to impact the game both on the offensive and defensive side.”

Shipp explained his role isn’t about tackles and pressure. He supports Leerdam by taking space. “It’s not even the defensive side, it’s the timing of me starting wide, especially when you have possession, good possession. It’s the timing when I show in the pocket. I think creating that split-second hesitation for the other team’s outside back and if I’m able to do that consistently then whether I’m able to get it there from Cristian or Nico and turn and play Kelvin or if it goes to them directly I think it allows him to get on his horse and do what he does well.”

With injuries to new players, Shipp will likely reprise the role he had against the Rapids. Leg One against the Vancouver Whitecaps has Osvaldo Alonso, Victor Rodriguez and Gustav Svensson as questionable. Brad Evans and Jordan Morris are both out injured, while Clint Dempsey will serve a suspension. Shipp will keep his head up, and look for runs by players like Leerdam, Lodeiro, and Bruin.

“I worked to get to the point where I was seeing the game again, and things were kind of slowing down around me so that I’m able to get my head up, pick our runs in front of me and hopefully slide guys in on goal.”

He wouldn’t mind scoring another hockey-style redirect goal either.