Even though the Seattle Sounders are missing five of their best players to international duty and don’t play an MLS match this weekend, that doesn’t mean they get the week off. The club’s organized friendly against Liga MX side Club Necaxa should provide plenty of entertaining soccer for the fans and stiff competition for some of the team’s lesser-used players.
In fact, Sounders head coach Brian Schmetzer debates the term “friendly” to describe this weekend’s match. “It’s not a friendly, Gonzo’s on my staff. He’s doing film on Necaxa, we’re treating this as a game and we’re going to watch film and try and study them and come up with a good game plan.” Friendlies are always a chance to give young and fringe players extended first-team action, but the absence of guys like Joevin Jones and Jordan Morris will help players like Henry Wingo and Seyi Adekoya get more minutes against top-level opposition.
A few other players that Schmetzer identified as likely to play most of the match were Jordy Delem, Zach Mathers, and Will Bruin. He also noted that Harry Shipp should see plenty of action, to catch up for missing much of preseason with an ankle injury. “It’ll be good to get everybody a good run out.”
A slight complication is that Sounders 2 play their opening match of the season on Sunday against Sacramento Republic, and some of the players that might have come down from the first team to play may not do so after playing 90 minutes on Saturday. Schmetzer likely could have brought in some S2 players for the friendly as well, which he probably won’t do. S2 GM Kurt Schmid said “obviously we’re not going to have first team guys that we would normally get on loan for that game, since they’ll be playing in the friendly. I’ll leave that to Schmetz to deal with the lineup, whatever decisions he makes in that regard, we’ll adjust and adapt to that.”
Schmetzer’s goals for the friendly against Necaxa are simple: “No injuries, a good run out for all the guys, young guys and guys that haven’t had 90 minutes during the regular season.” Those were the main goals, but he also noted that he would like to give the fans an entertaining game, especially after the treat that the Red Bulls match was. “As a soccer fan, when I re-watched it, they were pretty good in the first half, we were pretty good, I thought it was a good game. I want to make [the friendly] an entertaining match as well.”