TUKWILA, Wash. — The Seattle Sounders are in the middle of a rare luxury in MLS: A long week of training before a home game.
Because the Sounders played last Friday in Portland and don’t play until Sunday versus the LA Galaxy, the team has the benefit of a full training week, which provides for days off and allows for Coach Brian Schmetzer to focus on fixing problem areas.
“It’s a normal or long training week so it gives us a chance to work on a couple of things,” Schmetzer said after training Thursday. “We’re still going to work on defense a little bit. At the same time we’re going to balance that with what I enjoyed about the Portland game.”
Schmetzer noted that the Portland game was the first time in awhile that the team jumped out to a lead with Cristian Roldan’s goal, and extended that when Raul Ruidiaz tallied a goal early in the second half. “That’s what happened in the beginning of the year in our fast starts, we would get on top of our opponents early and that helps.”
A player who was a central figure in that fast start to start the season — Victor Rodriguez — was ruled out of the game versus the Galaxy by Schmetzer. The Sounders continue to take things slowly with the midfielder, given the recurrence of his troublesome injuries over the summer. “He won’t be ready for Sunday’s game, we hope to have him involved against Colorado,” Schmetzer said.
Having Rodriguez available against Colorado would certainly be helpful to the Sounders, who are set to lose as many as seven players to international duty next weekend. A bit of controversy popped up over the last two days when US Men’s National Team Coach Gregg Berhalter indicated that he declined to call up three Toronto FC players (Michael Bradley, Jozy Altidore and Omar Gonzalez) because the club team is in the middle of a playoff push. That hasn’t sat well with fans of other teams who are set to lose players.
Coach Schmetzer however was diplomatic in his response to the comments. “It’s his team, he is the national team coach and we are supportive of the national team coach and the team,” Schmetzer said. “I totally see why he would say it. I understand there are a lot of frustrations with the FIFA breaks and players going away. There’s no easy solution there.
“It’s a bummer that we have so many guys missing, but it’s also a blessing for me in many ways because it shows I have a good team. Sometimes it hurts, but we gotta deal with it.”
Jordan Morris returned to full training today after coming off early against Portland ... Nouhou has been in training all week as well.