TUKWILA, Wash. — You may have noticed that the Seattle Sounders won a few games in a row despite losing several top players. When they play the LA Galaxy on Saturday July 29 (7 PM, ESPN) they’ll have most of those players back. Only Osvaldo Alonso is a likely absence as Nicolas Lodeiro returns from suspension and Oniel Fisher, Clint Dempsey, and Jordan Morris return from the Gold Cup.
Jordan Morris has done work against LA in the past, scoring three goals on seven shots in the last two matches against the Galaxy, both on the road. Morris started the game this season on the wing (scored once) and in the 4-2 win last fall he scored twice as a forward.
Those past performances down in SoCal do impact Brian Schmetzer’s hopes to start the youngster, but Bruce Arena’s usage of Morris when the United States takes on Jamaica in the Gold Cup Final (July 26, 6:30 PM, FS1) will play a large factor.
“I would say it upgrades our consideration to play [him],” coach said after Monday’s practice, “because we don’t know if he’s going to start on Wednesday and then it’s two starts in a row, the national team dynamic and how they train, and all that sort of stuff. We have to take that into consideration. But it certainly will be nice having Jordy and Clint back. That’s going to be nice.”
Getting so many bodies back when former backups look like starters, adding a TAM right back and with the injuries to Brad Evans now resolved, the coaching staff faces difficult decisions.
“It certainly makes our job as coaches more challenging, but it’s a good problem to have. I’m not concerned about it. Everybody’s going to want to play. Yes, you’ll get guys that get a little grumpy if they don’t play, but we dealt with that a little bit with Nelson and Andreas Ivanschitz,” Schmetzer reminded the media. “I had to tell one of those guys — both those guys have played their respective countries — I had to tell one of them ‘you’re not playing.’ They didn’t take it too well. They trained and raised the level of training. That’s actually a good thing in my eyes.”
With 18 players earning starts from the 2-2 draw at Portland (the last game before Gold Cup rosters diminished MLS sides), Schmetzer’s decisions are difficult enough. That does not mean he’s asked Garth Lagerwey to stop searching for more talent.
“Garth’s working hard on that,” Schmetz responded when asked about adding more talent before the transfer window closes. “Chris Henderson has done a great job of scouting and getting those targets out there. I’ve gotta trust what those guys do.”