TUKWILA, Wash. — The Seattle Sounders completed an early-morning training session Saturday ahead of their afternoon flight to Los Angeles. They will be at least a little short-handed when they take off.
While the Sounders had the luxury of starting the same lineup for the first five games of the year, that streak was never going to last, and a number of injuries will test the Sounders depth, as they get ready to play three games in a week.
Head coach Brian Schmetzer ruled out Will Bruin from making the trip to Los Angeles, as he recovers from the hamstring injury he suffered last week against Toronto FC.
“The injury to Will puts us very, very short at forward,” Schmetzer said. “Will is not going to go on the trip; I will rule him out definitely.”
Schmetzer characterized Bruin’s injury as “day-to-day,” so he remains an option next week for San Jose or LAFC at home.
The heel injury to Raul Ruidiaz has turned out to be a bit more complicated than originally expected. While he has trained on-and-off during the week, he was not at Saturday’s session after he briefly shared an image of him wearing a walking boot on Friday and the team is taking a cautious approach to the injury so as not to risk setbacks. Still, Schmetzer said the forward will make the trip, and his inclusion will be a game-time decision.
“Last week I had a tough decision to make with Raul,” Schmetzer said. “We’re trying to keep him off his feet as much as possible.
“We have to make that game-time decision; it’s not going to be made today.”
There are a number of players on individual training programs as well, and with the sudden glut of games, Schmetzer is counting on those players who haven’t seen much time to fill in if the starters are unable to participate.
“Whoever I put on the field will know exactly what the expectations are,” Schmetzer said. “It’s not going to be an easy game by any stretch of the imagination, but every single player that steps on the field for this club knows exactly what’s expected of them.
“It’s as simple as that.”
No matter what the lineup looks like, Sounders goalkeeper Stefan Frei believes concentration and attention to details will be key in the matchup on Sunday.
“When you’re facing a tough challenge and you’re putting in the hard work and you’re doing well, one mental lapse can ruin it,” Frei said. “Simple things [like] battling all the way to the end of plays but also the to the ninety-plus minute.
“I think we’ve seen glimpses of that in Vancouver, with Kim [Kee Hee] coming back, and last game against Toronto with me making a save with Cristian [Roldan] on the line; those are all glimpses of not shutting down and going all the way and going above and beyond.”