TUKWILA, Wash. — The Seattle Sounders wrapped up their last practice Saturday morning before they flew down to San Jose for their pivotal matchup with the Earthquakes, and the main question was whether midfielder and Designated Player Nicholas Lodeiro was sufficiently recovered from his lower back injury to be a factor in Sunday’s game.
Lodeiro went through training Saturday, though he was not fully involved in the session.
“It’ll still be a game day decision,” head coach Brian Schmetzer said after the session. “He did more training today and he got fitted with his new flak jacket — his custom-made flak jacket — so he did pretty good today.”
Late Saturday, a report from Sounder at Heart’s Niko Moreno indicated that Lodeiro did not travel to San Jose for the game.
I am told Nicolás Lodeiro did not travel with the team to face San Jose as expected. This means #SoundersMatchday will rely on Victor Rodriguez or Harry Shipp to conduct the CAM role against the Earthquakes. @sounderatheart— Niko Moreno (@ELROLONW) September 29, 2019
That means the Sounders will once again have to rely on other options in the midfield including the continued reintegration of Victor Rodriguez from his extended absence.
“Victor kind of stays in the pockets, Nico we allow the freedom to roam and float and his strength is he always covers more than 12 km per game,” Schmetzer said. “Victor is more kind of a ‘steady Eddie’, he’ll come on one side of the ‘No. 6,’ the other side he’ll stay in those pockets, try and get the ball on the half-turn and then be a connector to the next pass.”
The good news is that the Sounders have had a full week to prepare for San Jose’s unique man-marking style, and Schmetzer believes the team is ready what is in store for them.
“A lot of the messaging is, ‘they will come out, they will press they are a desperate team and we have to be prepared for that,’” Schmetzer said. “When we see what the game shakes out like, then I think we have a chance.”
Aside from Chris Wondolowski, who has tormented the Sounders on a number of occasion, Schmetzer said the team is wary of a number of the Earthquakes players, even though the team as a whole has struggled to get results the last month.
“Vako [Qazaishvili], [Magnus] Erickson, Tommy Thompson at right back was a new one for us but he’s done really well,” Schmetzer said. “They’re solid defensively and their goalkeeping is excellent. There’s some good players on that squad.”
Roman Torres made it though the week of training with no issues, and is available for selection, Schmetzer said. ... The Panamanian center back came to practice with a new look, having shaved off his trademark dreadlocks.
Roman said he sent his ‘locks to Panama to be placed in a trophy room display that people would be able to visit.