TUKWILA, Wash. — The Seattle Sounders completed the last pre-playoff training session Friday ahead of Saturday’s midday clash with FC Dallas, and the team is as healthy as they’ve been since late March.
The injury report was released shortly after practice, and aside from the long-term injury to Will Bruin, there was literally nothing else to report. No other players are out for the game, no players even listed as questionable. Victor Rodriguez was even able to be a full participant in training the last three days. Coach Brian Schmetzer will have his full roster to select from, save Danny Leyva and Alfonso Ocampo-Chavez, who have left for U-17 World Cup duty.
FC Dallas for their part will be without forward Dominique Badji (quad strain) and Critian Colman for the game, but are otherwise healthy.
With the Sounders’ injury issues apparently behind them, the team can fully focus on the task as hand. Schmetzer expects a raucous atmosphere for the game, and hopefully some inclement weather.
“That’s our home-field advantage,” Schmetzer said. “We get the wind, rain, swirling winds, big crowd, guys love it. I love it.”
Schmetzer will have some interesting decisions to make with the roster healthy, and a potential midweek game should the Sounders advance. Particularly, with three quality center backs available in Kim Kee-Hee, Roman Torres and Xavier Arreaga fully fit. Schmetzer said who starts will depend on who he feels will be most effective on the day, and didn’t rule out a formation with all three.
“We even talked about having all three on the field at the same time,” Schmetzer said. “It’s certainly a tricky proposition, but again it’s just making sure you’re taking to the players honestly, openly and tell them how you feel, what you’re thinking for that particular match and they understand.”
The only real drawback with the new playoff schedule was the lack of training time with the internationals away, but Schmetzer said at this point of the season, it’s less of an issue. “Every coach would prefer a four-day lead in to the game [with the full roster], but it’s MLS and it doesn’t always happen that way,” Schmetzer said.