It’s only a couple months into the 2017 MLS season, but the Seattle Sounders have already been put through the ringer in multiple ways. The injury bug started hitting players before the season even started, and it’s been relentless ever since. The fixture congestion of the last two weeks probably hasn’t helped either; a few players had to sit the game due to mild injuries or fatigue.
It’s mostly good news heading to this weekend’s home match against Real Salt Lake, though. Brad Evans said that he is mostly ready to go, even if he’s not sure if he can play for a full 90 minutes.
Osvaldo Alonso, who sat out the match on Wednesday in Kansas City, fully participated in training on Friday—though it was a lighter session than usual. Schmetzer said that if Ozzie is “ready and doesn’t get any worse, he will play.”
It seemed a little odd at first when the team sheet was released in Kansas City that Clint Dempsey started on the bench, but it turns out that his exclusion had nothing to do with an injury. Schmetzer said that the decision to start Dempsey on the bench was “the first time we elected to not play a player because of rest only.” Apparently, when the Sounders were down 2-0 the intention was to get Dempsey on to spark the attack. But before Schmetzer could get him onto the pitch, Sporting KC had scored a third. “At that point,” they thought, “let’s get Seyi [Adekoya] some minutes and get him out there.”
Defender Roman Torres didn’t start either of the two away games in the last week, though he was doing some fitness work on Friday. Schmetzer said that Torres is still a little ways away, and won’t be available on Saturday. “Roman’s a little bit behind the other guys, but he’s getting better.”
One of the most baffling injury situations of the season so far has been Jordan Morris’ ankle. It’s an injury that has been bothering him since early in the season, and he’s been apparently playing through it ever since. Morris looked a little sluggish late in the games against Chicago and KC, but Schmetzer said on Friday that Morris told him after the KC match that it was the first time since injuring the ankle that he didn’t feel it during a game. Morris apparently said that the injury didn’t even cross his mind during the match which, if true, should hopefully lead to a drastic change in performance. “He’s a tough kid, he will play through that injury,” Schmetzer said. “It’s just whether he was effective through the injuries, that’s what we have to digest.”
Fortunately for the Sounders, Real Salt Lake are going into Saturday’s match with a slew of their own roster issues. Between injuries and players leaving for the U-20 World Cup, RSL will be even more banged up than the Sounders. “[They’ve] gotta deal with his injury issues, and we’ve gotta deal with ours,” Schmetzer said. He plans to send his team flying out of the gates to “try and get on top of them early,” because they are determined to get a result in what Brad Evans called a “must-win game.”