The Sounders open the playoffs Fridaywith the home leg of a two-game aggregate-score series with Real Salt Lake.
The Sounders have made the playoffs all four of their MLS seasons, but they have never won a playoff series, and RSL is the team that ousted them last season when the home-road order was reversed.
“Obviously we need to win at home and we need to get something on the road,” coach Sigi Schmid said. “We are at home first, last year it was the opposite, so we need to do the same kind of job that they did on us last year. Eddie (Johnson), we’ll see tomorrow exactly where he stands, we took (Jeff) Parke out just out of precaution, because he felt a little bit tight so we wanted to make sure nothing went wrong there. It is something where we have to see where we are at and see what players are available to us. Salt Lake have some guys with injuries as well. We are going to put out 11 players they will put out 11 players and they will decide it on the field.”
Johnson went down in the 43rd minute, dropping from an apparent hamstring injury. The Sounders said he would undergo an MRI on Monday.
“I made a couple of long runs early in the game and (the) hammy kind of tightened up on me,” he said. “My game requires making hard runs behind the back four. I tried to set the defender up, like I was going to come to the ball and check to the right. I felt a big cramp in my hamstring. I know what that feels like so I was smart, I came out. I didn’t try to force it, but there’s definitely something there. If I tried to play, I would have been restricted. The smart thing for me to do, what is best for the team, was for me to come out.”
Parke came off in the 52nd minute, but he said the move was precautionary.
“I didn’t want to pull anything right now,” Parke said. “It’s crunch time and it’s more important that I’m healthy (rather) than being out there and trying to push through a game that doesn’t really have too much meaning for us. It’s just precaution and getting ready for next week.”