TUKWILA, Wash. — The Seattle Sounders finished training ahead of Sunday’s game versus the New York Red Bulls, and for the first time in what seems like an eternity, coach Brian Schmetzer will be a bit spoiled for choice.
On the heels of an international break which left the Sounders’ lineup decimated in a 2-0 loss to the Colorado Rapids, the team has gotten almost whole again. All of the players who left for international duty have returned to training over the last three days, and all of them participated fully in Saturday’s session. Midfielder Victor Rodriguez made it through the week with no apparent issues as well.
“We are complete,” Schmetzer said. “I think the mood [of the team] is in good spirits but also serious. We all understand the importance of the last five games of the year.”
With the return of so many players, Schmetzer said it won’t be much of an issue getting everyone minutes with the number of games coming up in the next week.
“It’s pretty easy this week because we’ve got three games,” Schmetzer said. “With this three game week, we need everybody.”
The other benefit of a mostly healthy squad will be the ability for Schmetzer to more effectively game plan, and pick the lineup he believes will best match up with opponent.
“At home we like to have more attacking players on the bench, maybe away from home it’s more defensive, but those things all go into consideration.
Turning to the New York Red Bulls specifically, the team is well aware of their desire to high press and cause turnovers. So, much of the focus this week has been on how to deal with the problems that causes. “We won’t give up our secrets on how we’re gonna cope with that,” leftback Brad Smith said with a smile. “In football you have to adapt to any type of style. It’s something that’s good for us. We can play out of the back, we can play out fast and get out quick and we’re up the field.”
Schmetzer also stressed the importance of positioning and playing out of the back in dealing with the Red Bull press. “Playing out of the back and our initial starting position on goals kick and how we want to try to tactically have options,” Schmetzer said. “They press high and they’ll continue to press for the whole game. We’ve given them a couple of tools, and it’s up to the guys on the field to see if they can make plays.”
Schmetzer did note that center back Jonathan Campbell picked up a injury to his calf in the Colorado game, and is unlikely to feature this weekend. ... Roman Torres has started training with the Tacoma Defiance and is likely to see some playing time with the USL side in advance of his return from suspension. He is eligible to return for the San Jose Earthquakes game on Sept. 29.