TUKWILA, Wash. — After a thoroughly embarrassing 3-0 loss away to the Columbus Crew on Wednesday, the Seattle Sounders host first-place Houston Dynamo at CenturyLink Field this weekend. Injuries, call-ups, and other misfortunes forced head coach Brian Schmetzer to field probably his weakest lineup all season. Even though not all of the aforementioned problems have been fixed going into the weekend, there is at least some good news for the home team.
Brad Evans and Chad Marshall, two veteran defenders who were kept out of the starting lineup (Marshall didn’t even travel) in Columbus, should be slotting back into the team on Sunday. Schmetzer said of the pair’s exclusion, “Brad and Chad were [due to] rest, those were my decisions.” Roman Torres, who has been dealing with some hamstring issues most of this season, started on the bench but saw a few minutes near the end of the match. He’s available again for Sunday, but Schmetzer declined to say if he’ll likely be a starter. “Roman probably could have played a few more minutes” on Wednesday, Schmetzer said.
One big surprise when the lineups were released in Columbus was that midfielder Harry Shipp was on the bench. This was due to a “re-aggravation” of a hip flexor strain that he’d had previously. Schmetzer said Shipp was available for Sunday’s game, but not if he’d be able to start. Forward Will Bruin, who has been mostly training solo with a variety of slings and other medical devices protecting his dislocated elbow, did some training with the team on Friday. Schmetzer said Bruin will be evaluated Saturday to see if he is available for selection on Sunday, but he’ll likely be more of a game time decision.
ESPN’s Julie Stewart-Binks tweeted earlier today that Sporting KC had managed to get defender Matt Besler released from US national team duty due to an “emergency” lack of central defenders on the team. Sounders fans were rightly confused and annoyed that the same exception hadn’t applied to Clint Dempsey or Jordan Morris, seeing as the Sounders’ lack of forwards is just as much of an emergency as KC’s lack of defensive depth at the moment.
Schmetzer didn’t want to speculate or comment on the situation very much, but he did say he spoke to Bruce Arena about the Sounders’ situation. “But, you know, whatever Kansas City has...maybe they have a different relationship. Who knows if he’s going to figure in any matches, there are a lot of details that I’m not aware of.” Schmetzer said he and the club are supportive of the USMNT and their players’ participation in the upcoming matches, though it would have been quite helpful if they had been able to help out right now. “This is an unusual circumstance with calling guys in early,” Schmetzer said, “so I couldn’t really comment on what KC has done.”
Regarding the rest of the Sounders’ potential internationals, Schmetzer said that no more will be leaving before Sunday’s match. Afterwards, though, he deferred to the eventual club press release on the final internationals. “We’ll have some guys missing, we’ll even have some smaller guys missing for Caribbean Cup and things like that,” Schmetzer added.
One final roster note: Schmetzer said that, despite the presence of some S2 players in first team training (as pretty normal thing, admittedly), no S2 players would be called up to the first team in the near future. He didn’t comment on additional roster moves, but as of now nothing has changed.