TUKWILA, Wash. — After two weeks with no league games, the Seattle Sounders resumed a normal practice schedule with a weekend match versus a Cascadia rival to look forward to. Most of the discussion last week was surrounding the unfortunate (and untimely) injury to forward Will Bruin, who will miss the remainder of the season with an ACL injury.
With Bruin out for the year, and Jordan Morris and Raul Ruidíaz away on national team duty for at least another seven days, the Sounders options at forward are extremely limited. So it did not go without notice that Tacoma Defiance forward Justin Dhillon has been training with the Sounders over the last two days.
Dhillon was a standout at practice today, scoring a nice goal from a Brad Smith cross, and creating some dangerous chances for others with holdup play and passing. Also notable was the extended conversation he had with Coach Brian Schmetzer and General Manager Garth Lagerwey after practice.
Garth Lagerwey, Brian Schmetzer and Justin Dhillon had an extensive conversation after today's practice. The Tacoma Defiance striker is a strong option to help #SoundersMatchday up top but there has been nothing official from the team at this time. #MLS @sounderatheart pic.twitter.com/9VghTWgz3K— Niko Moreno (@ELROLONW) June 25, 2019
At the post-practice scrum, Schmetzer addressed the forward situation, and the potential addition of Dhillon.
“There’s certainly some fluidity to the starting lineup for Saturday against Vancouver,” Schmetzer said. “We have some young kids that are in contention, we can play with a false nine. All of those things we’ll have to prepare for.”
Currently, the only pure forward available is 17-year-old Alfonso Ocampo-Chavez, who the team is high on. The Sounders appear to have the ability to sign Dhillon in time for the game this Saturday, though there are some contractual issues that would have to be resolved.
“It’s an option for us; we’re certainly looking at it,” Schmetzer said. “He’s good soccer player, he’s scored goals for [Tacoma] Defiance as well.”
Jordy Delem has returned to training on the heels of scoring a nice goal against Mexico. Delem played a significnant number of minutes for Martinque and Schmetzer said the team will evaluate him over the next few days.
“He’s doing regen today. We’ll assess him Thursday [and] Friday, make final decisions then.” Schmetzer said.
Delem was happy with his performance and how the team played, especially against Mexico.
“To play against Mexico and score is amazing,” Delem said. While Delem said he is a little tired, he’s ready to return to help the team. “I have to reset my mind and try to score for the Sounders,” he said.
The status of the two other internationals is somewhat up in the air this weekend, as Xavier Arreaga and Joevin Jones are not yet with the team. Neither was expected to be with the team, as Ecuador was eliminated from the Copa America in Brazil on Monday, while Trinidad and Tobago have a game tomorrow, though they cannot advance to the knockout round.
“We will expect both of those players as soon as they’re released from their federations,” Schmetzer said. “Hopefully they’ll be [with the team] in time and in shape to play [Saturday].”