Three losses in a row have cast some doubt on the Sounders’ playoff fate. In all likelihood, Seattle’s going to be playing past game 34, but with San Jose surging while Sigi Schmid’s team struggles, being number six two weeks from now isn’t out of the question. And even if Seattle gets through, there’s no guarantee they’ll avoid the four-five game, mostly like against the same Colorado Rapids team who throttled them 10 days ago.
Now the good news. According to the beat guys at Starfire Sports Complex today, many question marks for Saturday’s game in Dallas could see positive answers:
Schmid sounds relatively upbeat about chances for Dempsey, EJ and Evans for Dallas. Oba less so. And Zakuani had setback.—
Don Ruiz (@donruiztnt) October 16, 2013
Schmid left door open for Dempsey, EJ and Martins being available Saturday. Dempsey/EJ did what they wanted. Oba a little less so.—
Joshua Mayers (@joshuamayers) October 16, 2013
More on those lists:
- Clint Dempsey suffered a separated shoulder in the first half Sunday against Portland but managed to play another 57 minutes. The hamstring problem that kept him out of the U.S. national team? If it’s still a concern, it’s a secondary one.
- Eddie Johnson injured his groin while with the U.S. national team, forcing him to pull out of the team’s qualifiers. He’s arguably been Seattle’s most important player this season. Having him on the end of set pieces and long balls gives the Sounders a straight-forward way to break out of this slump.
- Brad Evans, also called up by Jurgen Klinsmann, stayed with the team, played in Panama, but could be ready in Frisco. His presence has been missed over the last two games.
- Obafemi Martins has been dealing with a groin problem and didn’t feature in Portland. Per the sources above, he seems less likely to play than his strike partner.
- Steve Zakuani, coming back from sports hernia surgery, played in Portland and nearly found a late equalizer, but having suffered a setback, the winger seems unlikely to feature in Dallas.
Other question marks/issues for Seattle:
- Marcus Hahnemann played well in goal at JELD-WEN, but as Schmid noted after the match, he didn’t have much to do. If Michael Gspurning is on the bench against Dallas, might as well consider Hahnemann the new number one.
- Jhon Kennedy Hurtado has had three different partners in central defense during Seattle’s losing streak: Zach Scott (at Colorado), Djimi Traoré (vs. Vancouver), Pat Ianni (at Portland). As is the case in goal, Schmid’s selection in central defense for Dallas should give us a good idea of how he sees his depth chart.
- Osvaldo Alonso is out, suspended for at least Saturday’s game. Given the absence you’d think if Brad Evans can walk, he’ll start next to Adam Moffat in the middle. Schmid favorite Andy Rose would be Plan B.
- Without Johnson and Martins but with Dempsey back, Seattle emulated a 4-2-3-1 in Portland, with Dempsey playing behind Lamar Neagle. If all of Johnson, Martins, Dempsey and Neagle are available, it will be interesting to see how Seattle set up. That foursome have rarely been able to get in the team at the same time. It’s unclear Schmid has decided on how to use them together (or if it’s worth sacrificing Mauro Rosales to do so).