While fans are on pins and needles, they won’t know for certain if the Seattle Sounders’ newest Designated Player Raúl Ruidíaz will be in head coach Brian Schmetzer’s starting 11 against the Vancouver Whitecaps at CenturyLink Field Saturday.
Schmetzer laughed when he was asked if he planned to start the Peruvian this weekend.
“Come on,” Schmetzer said, smiling and shaking his head. “Wow. Next question.”
Maybe Schmetzer could afford to offer up a few more details. The last time a starting 11 leaked in advance of a match, the Sounders won 2-1 on the road against Toronto.
Now, though, things are a bit dire. The Sounders are getting to a position where they are up against the wall and need to go on a spectacular run of form to make the playoffs. Ruidíaz, it is hoped, will provide the necessary spark (and break the Sounders out of their season-long scoring slump).
Despite this, Schmetzer defended his decision not to send in Ruidiaz in the road draw against Atlanta.
“The challenge as coaches, it’s always situational,” Schmetzer said. “I read some of the stuff, everybody wanted to see Ruidíaz out on the field. It would have put more of a twinkle in my eye had he come on and scored a winning goal against Atlanta, but obviously the game didn’t dictate that. We needed to make the substitutions that we did. The fans will see him this weekend.”
It seems highly unlikely that Ruidiaz would not start Saturday, but Schmetzer said he wanted to see how the Peruvian integrates into the team in the coming days of training.