The Sounders trained today, giving us the first chance to talk to coach Sigi Schmid since Eddie Johnson’s two-goal, game-saving performance with the U.S. national team.
We asked Sigi about that.
“It’s great,” Schmid said. “It’s great for Eddie, it’s great for our club; it was great for the U.S. because it was an important three points down there on a day that maybe it was a difficult day to play soccer because of the weather and the field conditions and everything else. For Eddie to come through and score on those two headers, and to get the last one in the last two minutes was definitely something that speaks well for the kind of year that he’s had.”
However, Johnson’s breakthrough performance probably makes him more likely to get long minutes tomorrow against Guatemala, and therefore less likely to get start or even play Wednesday, when Real Salt Lake visits CenturyLink Field for an MLS match crucial to Western Conference playoff seeding.
“We have to wait and see what happens tomorrow, but with what he did on Friday night, his chances of probably getting significant minutes tomorrow probably increased dramatically,” Schmid said. “The chances of Eddie being available: For sure I don’t see him being available to us in a starting situation and maybe he is somebody who can come off the bench. But we have to look at the playoffs and so forth. We don’t want to take a player who’s played 90 minutes on a Tuesday, flown back to Seattle and then try and get him out there for 15-20 minutes and risk injury.”
Seattle also will likely be without defender Adam Johansson (Sweden) and midfielder Mario Martinez (Honduras), while RSL also has players away with their national teams. Schmid was asked which club loses more.
“It’s tough to say,” he answered. “Obviously Mario Martinez played a lot of minutes for Honduras and will probably play a lot of minutes again. Will Johnson is playing a lot of minutes for Canada. (Alvaro) Saborio is an important part of Costa Rica. Eddie’s playing minutes right now for the U.S. It really comes down to how many minutes each guy plays. So if (Kyle) Beckerman’s playing 90 minutes, then they possibly lose Beckerman for our game. If he doesn’t play – like he didn’t play against Antigua – then he’s possibly able to go and start against us. What I’ve found over the years is that you just can’t worry about that. At the end of the day, they’re going to submit their lineup sheet, and you’ve got to play against those guys; and we’ve got to submit our sheet and those are the guys playing.”
This week comes in a week intended as an MLS schedule break to accommodate international competition. However, this game was moved to accommodate the Sounders’ summer friendly with Chelsea FC.
“It happens,” Schmid said. “You can stand on your head and you’re not going to change it. At least I can’t. I can’t stand on my head, though.”
The guy more directly involved with the decision was general manager Adrian Hanauer, so we asked him how much all this was considered when the friendly was scheduled.
“When you look at RSL on the schedule, you assume it’s going to be a game of importance,” he said. “But we did discuss the fact that both teams would likely be missing players and that it’s just one of those compromises, I guess that had to be made to accommodate the game. Certainly big thanks to RSL, because they didn’t have to move the game and find themselves in this situation, And it’s certainly one of the factors that we discuss and continue to discuss as we move forward on our friendly strategy.”