It seemed pretty obvious after the Open Cup win on Wednesday, that some of the little-used players had impressed coach Sigi Schmid … enough where they might work their way into the lineup. However, I also wondered if Schmid’s hands would be tied against Dallas on Sunday because of the minutes folks like Miguel Montano, Michael Seamon and Nate Jaqua had played in the Wednesday heat.
However, Schmid gave a pretty good indication at training today that kind of allocation of minutes is a luxury his team can no longer afford, and that he will send out what he now considers his best available 11.
“We didn’t play an overtime game and you also got Thursday, Friday and Saturday, so you got three days so that’s pretty good recovery time,” he said. “We are also at the stage of our season where we got to put out what we think is the best team for the occasion, and we can’t worry so much about platooning or putting people in. We have to start want we think is the best lineup.”
With only 15 points halfway through the season, the Sounders will likely need to average very close to two points over the 15 remaining games to make the playoffs. That pace — getting and win and a draw over each pair of games — allows little margin for error and that means starting Sunday.
“We got to get points,” he said. “It doesn’t matter what the other teams do. It’s a matter of us getting points. So we need to get points and we need to win our home games, for sure. So we have got to come out with that desire and that fight this weekend. These three points are very crucial to our needs and our success for the rest of the year.”
As for the possibility of players returning from injury, well, that’s not certain yet. But judging from training today at Qwest, defensive midfielder Osvaldo Alonso looks the closest and could be in the mix for Dallas.
“Alonso obviously did a lot more today so we will see how he feels tomorrow and that will make a decision for him on the weekend, whether he can be on the bench or not,” Schmid said. “(Brad) Evans is obviously starting to run. He was in the 5 v 2 today so he’s a little over two weeks out. So he is making good progress. It’s good to see (Jhon Kennedy Hurtado) running a little bit today, as well.”