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Internationals return to Sounders training

Sounders hoping to get off to a better start against Galaxy.

MLS: Los Angeles FC at Seattle Sounders FC Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

TUKWILA — The six players who missed last week’s Sounders game due to international duty have started to trickle back into town, with Alex Roldán and Reed Baker-Whiting the first to return.

It’s unclear how big of a role any of them will play in Saturday’s match against the LA Galaxy.

On Wednesday, Roldán was training exclusively on the side and appeared to be testing the thigh injury that caused him to be removed at halftime of El Salvador’s match on Monday. Baker-Whiting did participate in a few drills, but also trained mostly on the side. Xavier Arreaga, Raúl Ruidíaz, Nouhou and Obed Vargas are all due to return on Thursday.

In their absence, the Sounders were mostly running drills with the same group of players who started against Sporting KC. Given that they won that game 4-1 — snapping a 10-match road winless run — Schmetzer might be inclined to use the same lineup again, anyway.

Looking for a better start

As satisfying as the end result was in Kansas City, there was at least one obvious area for improvement. Despite the coaching staff messaging that Sporting KC were likely to come out desperate, the Sounders started the match on the back foot and surrendered a 5th minute goal.

“It’s great to come back from 1-0, but we need to start games better,” Cristian Roldan said. “That’s something that we’ve already talked about, away games in particular.”

The Galaxy present a nearly identical challenge. Like Sporting KC, they come into this match winless through four matches — they are 0-1-3 after three consecutive ties — while struggling to score, but defending reasonably well. Since giving up three goals in their season-opener, the Galaxy have only conceded once.

The Galaxy are also expected to get back several players who missed the Timbers game, most notably Dejan Joveljić. The prolific scorer was with Serbia. Kelvin Leerdam and Eriq Zavaleta are also expected to return. It is still unclear if goalkeeper Jonathan Bond will be back after missing last game with a shoulder injury.

Fined for confrontation

The Sounders and head coach Brian Schmetzer were fined an undisclosed amount by the MLS Disciplinary Committee after being found in violation of the league’s “mass confrontation” policy for a second time. The incident happened in the 63rd minute when eight players surrounded referee Alex Chilowicz after Ben Sweat collided with Léo Chú near midfield. Sweat was ultimately shown a second yellow card and ejected for the foul.

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