TUKWILA, Wash. — The Seattle Sounders finished training on Saturday ahead of today’s game versus Sporting Kansas City, and after practice, Sounders head coach Brian Schmetzer addressed the suspension of defender Roman Torres by MLS for violating the league’s substance abuse policy.
Torres addressed the suspension at a press conference that occurred during training, so Schmetzer didn’t address those comments specifically, but he did express support for Torres, and said he would be welcomed back to the team.
“We’re supportive of Roman, we understand that’s a legal process that has to take its course,” Schmetzer said. “If there is any avenue to shrink the sentence, we want to be supportive, but we understand it did happen.”
There appears to be some lack of clarity as to whether there is the possibility that Torres could appeal, or whether that process is completed before the suspension is implemented. Complicating the issue were the comments by Torres that he was not told what substance triggered the violation.
Aquí les comparto la conferencia de prensa de Román Torres, para los que no han tenido la oportunidad de escucharla. El defensa central panameño, habló sobre la suspensión, lo que piensa hacer al respecto y más. #MLS @DavidSakata@duroalhueso https://t.co/bZWFYoAmYM— Niko Moreno (@ELROLONW) August 4, 2019
“I don’t know what our process is, what our rights are,” Schmetzer said. “I believe that the Union (MLSPA) takes care of that for the players.” A request for comment has been sent to both the MLSPA and MLS to clarify the process to appeal or challenges test results and suspensions.
With the apparent loss of Torres for 10 games and the retirement of Chad Marshall, the acquisition of Ecuadorian defender Xavier Arreaga has only grown in importance going forward. While Schmetzer is generally loathe to provide information about his starting lineup in advance of the game, he did allow that Arreaga will replace Torres on Sunday.
“I’ll give you that...Xavier sill slide in,” Schmetzer said with a smile.
Victor Rodriguez participated in full training with no apparent setbacks, though Schmetzer was noncommittal on whether he would play a part in the game. The team has been very cautious with the midfielder, given he has had two hamstring injuries in relatively quick succession. “He trained in full, so we’ll see,” Schmetzer said.
One issue of concern is the status of Raul Ruidiaz, who did not train over the last couple of sessions. Ruidiaz has been dealing with concussion protocol and a small knock, so his availability for the game is in doubt.
“Raul is going to be questionable for the game, and we’ll make that determination [Sunday],” Schmetzer said. If Ruidiaz is unavailable, then it would seem likely that Jordan Morris moves up front. Additionally, Schmetzer could reprise the halftime adjustment which saw Nicolas Lodiero as a “false nine.”
“It just proves we can adapt to certain situations,” Schmetzer said. “We’ve played Cristian [Roldan] as a ‘10’, we played Brad Evans as a forward a few years ago. Those decisions in those moments, sometimes they work and sometimes they don’t.”
Sporting Kansas City will be without the services of Roger Espinoza, who will be serving a suspension after receiving a red card in Sporting’s last game. ... Gustav Svennson seems unlikely to feature this weekend, as he recovers from a hamstring injury. That could provide 16-year-old midfielder Danny Leyva with another opportunity to start.