The international break turned out to be pretty good for the Seattle Sounders. Not only were Jordan Morris and Oniel Fisher able to pass fitness tests this week, but all four of the team’s other internationals will all be available for selection in Friday’s match against expansion upstarts Atlanta United.
“They're back,” Sounders head coach Brian Schmetzer told reporters about the internationals on Thursday. “They are in varying stages of recovery and we hope to see them all on the field tomorrow.”
Both Morris and Fisher suffered injuries in the Sounders’ 3-1 win over the New York Red Bulls on March 19. Morris turned his ankle, and although he was able to play 81 minutes and score his first goal of the season was sent home early from United States national team camp. Fisher had to be pulled in the 65th minute after injuring his hamstring and was not used in Saturday’s friendly against Club Necaxa. Both players have participated in training this week.
Of the internationals, Nicolas Lodeiro was the only one who didn’t actually play. Lodeiro did have to fly to Uruguay and then to Peru, though. Roman Torres, Joevin Jones and Clint Dempsey all started both of their respective World Cup qualifiers and played significant minutes. Of those, Torres would seem to be the most likely to get a rest as he appeared to take a knock late in Panama’s match against the United States (although Schmetzer insisted it was nothing serious). Jones and Dempsey will be potentially playing in their fourth match over the course of two weeks and the decision on how much they might play will likely be rooted in how much caution the Sounders choose to exercise.
One other factor is how much faith Schmetzer may have in backups like Will Bruin, who showed he’s capable of playing 90 minutes in the Necaxa friendly.
“If I need to start Will Bruin, coach's choice, instead of Jordan cause we don't want to injure him long term for the rest of the season with a dodgy ankle, Will is ready to play 90 minutes,” he said. “In that sense it was a good exercise for multiple positions, not just striker.”