TUKWILA, Wash. — Looking to move past the premature end to their Concacaf Champions League run, the Seattle Sounders finished their last training session Saturday at Starfire. With the short turnaround from Thursday’s game, the Sounders will find their depth and fitness tested, along with their resolve.
Disappointment aside, there were a few bits of good news from Saturday’s training session. Midfielder Nico Lodeiro got through the training session none the worse for wear, and though Schmetzer said his availability for Sunday’s game is not confirmed, he said the Designated Player is close to a return. “He’s out there doing extra work so you guys can probably put two and two together, but he’s getting close.”
The news what much better concerning reinforcements on the backline. The visa saga of Yeimar Gómez Andrade, the centerback signed by the Sounders in February, has finally come to an end. Andrade made a return to Starfire at the end of training Saturday, having secured the documents that had kept him out of the country until now. The Colombian centerback didn’t participate in training, though a team official indicated he is fully available for selection on Sunday.
While he hasn’t trained or seen his teammates in over a week, Schmetzer said that if Gómez Andrade passes the physical protocols, it’s likely he’ll see action against the Fire.
“He’s gone through a long ordeal,” Schmetzer said. “I’ll assess his physical condition and if he’s ready to go he’ll play.”
The return of Lodeiro and Andrade — should they be available — will obviously be welcome for a Sounders team that has been bitten by the injury bug early in the season. The injury issues are in stark contrast to 2019, when the Sounders were fully healthy to start the year, which contributed to a 4-0-1 start to the season, before injuries and international call-ups decimated the team.
“It’s always something new, isn’t it?” Schmetzer said. “You’re always going to have ups and downs. We’re getting everybody healthy and we don’t have enough games to play, so that’s another challenge.”
Sunday’s game is scheduled to be broadcast on ESPN, and though the listed start time is noon, a team official indicated the game will kick off well after that as is customary for national broadcasts. ... The Tacoma Defiance scrimmaged against Seattle University Saturday evening, and came away with a 3-1 victory. ... As part of the festivities for the home opener against the Chicago Fire, the team will be giving away 10,000 replica championship banners. ... Gustav Svensson trained on the side today and is unlikely to play versus Chicago.