While he wasn't present at today's Starfire training session, Herculez Gomez could be a Seattle Sounder by the end of the week. The club announced yesterday on their website that Gomez would be training with the Sounders again this week, after he spent the majority of last week at Starfire. Gomez tweeted on Sunday that he was heading back to Toronto, and is presumably returning to Seattle today or tomorrow. Sounders head coach Sigi Schmid said today that there will be "a decision" on Gomez within the "next day or two."
The Sounders are off this weekend, giving them an unusually early bye week. Such an early week off has its pros and cons, but Schmid said that the team requested every international break off, and it turned out that this was one that they were given. Clubs submit a list of the international windows that they would like to have off from MLS league play, generally because they aren't shorthanded for those matches. Schmid described the process as such, "the way it's gone typically in the league is that they list all the international window dates and they say 'pick one or two of these to have off' so you pick one or two and maybe you get it off, maybe you don't." The Sounders weighed their options, and requested all of the international breaks off, even saying that they'd be willing to take an extra Wednesday league match if necessary. Schmid said that the club wants to "give our fans the opportunity to have all our players here when we play. We figure our fans will come out, even if that means coming out on a Wednesday night, because they know our players will be here."
Given the situation the Sounders are in, being 0-3 in league play, Schmid said that the team would rather get right back onto the pitch to gain some momentum and put the last three weeks in the past. "You'd rather play right now, because when you're where we are right now, we want to get back out there and show our fans what we think of them and their support by coming out with a performance and a win."
But since the schedule is what it is, Schmid said that he hopes to get the most out of the break, whether it's rest for some guys or some extra training for others. Most of the internationals will return sometime next week, so the team is focusing on a few specific areas to help those in training right now. "It's a little bit of a different, smaller group today. We wanted to play a little bit more, some of those guys are getting some game time in." The team had a small scrimmage with youth and S2 players at training today, giving many players a chance to get some game situation experience and impress the coaches.
After today, though, Schmid intends to have the team get back to business. "Tomorrow we'll probably break it down more and do functional work, work on crossing, finishing. Have the midfielders work on opening the game up and building out from the back. It'll be a bit more functional this week." Even though they'll be without a number of first team players, Schmid intends to work on some of the areas that need tweaking or improvement. "I still think our decision-making in the final third has to be a little bit quicker, a little bit sharper. We've gotta be a little bit better at shooting from distance, a little bit more clever at key moments."