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Sounders Practice Notes: Victor Rodriguez joins training

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Spanish midfielder has not played since July 6, but could return this week.

TUKWILA, Wash. — What’s left of the Seattle Sounders returned to training at Starfire on Wednesday to prepare for an unfortunately-time match in Colorado this Saturday.

Not only will the Sounders be missing 10 first-team players, but they have the added insult of a short week of training, and a trip to the Mile High City to play at altitude against a Colorado Rapids side that was abject at the start of the season, but has been playing much better of late.

Having recently appointed Robin Fraser as the head coach, the Rapids are coming off an impressive road victory against the New York Red Bulls and are 8-5-4 since opening the season 0-9-2. Although the Rapids will also be down a significant number of players due to international call-ups — most notably leading scorer Kei Kamara — their losses don’t come close to matching what the Sounders will be missing.

The game was rescheduled from April, when threats of inclement weather led MLS to cancel the game and move it to Saturday. Unfortunately for the Sounders, news of the cancellation didn’t happen until after the team had left for Colorado.

“The thing that was frustrating was we got robbed of a bye week essentially,” Frei said. “We just added another road trip without actually having an additional game.”

With the international break sapping the Sounders of a substantial chunk of their roster, coach Brian Schmetzer will rely on those left behind to seize the opportunity.

“It’s a fact of life: they aren’t here,” Schmetzer said. “I need the next guy to step up and do their job to the best of his ability. That’s what makes good teams. Historically this franchise, the players from top to bottom, have done a great job of stepping in as needed.

“Overall, we’ve had a good history of guys stepping up.”

One piece of good news was the return of Victor Rodriguez to full training. Schmetzer was pleased to see the Spanish midfielder make it though the session with no issues. After missing the last nine matches, though, it’s unknown what kind of role he can play.

“We’ll see,” Schmetzer said. “If he goes through training all week, doctors clear him then he would certainly be eligible and I’d certainly think about playing him.

“His longterm health for the remainder of the year is important so we’ll see how this week goes.”

Notes

Given the Sounders lack of eligible outfield players, they are likely to take advantage of the league’s hardship exemption, which allows the team to call up a certain number of players from their USL affiliate, Tacoma Defiance. Depending on the availability of Rodriguez and Alex Roldan — who missed Sunday’s game with an ankle injury — the Sounders could be allowed to sign anywhere from 1-3 players on short-term deals. No announcement is expected on that until later this week. ... Shandon Hopeau, a Defiance midfielder, was training with the Sounders today.