Seattle Sounders' back line hums thanks to fill-ins

don.ruiz@thenewstribune.comMay 9, 2014 

Seattle Sounders FC took a four-game winning streak into Wednesday’s match with FC Dallas, changed half of its back line and emerged with a five-game winning streak.

The Sounders’ 2-1 win over the Hoops came with Zach Scott getting his first start of the season at central defense in place of Djimi Traore, and with Brad Evans getting his first start at left back in place of the injured Dylan Remick — who had been starting in place of the injured Leo Gonzalez.

“I thought Evans did a good job filling in at left back in the second half of (the previous game against Philadelphia), so we put him back there again at left back,” coach Sigi Schmid said. “We came out with Zach Scott because for Djimi it’s tough to play three games in a week on turf. We felt we needed to make a change there. Zach had been training well, and Jalil (Anibaba) was certainly someone we were considering as well.”

The plan worked well enough for the Sounders to move to 7-2-1 this season and increase their lead to five points over second-place Real Salt Lake.

Evans, who has been a regular starter at midfield, said he was pleased with his performance, other than his bump with Blas Perez that resulted in a penalty kick and Dallas’ lone goal.

“I felt confident on the ball,” Evans said. “I felt like I connected passes out of the back and in the second half was pushing forward more and playing with those guys up front. They only had two shots on goal. One of those ... was the penalty kick. One shot on goal in the run of play; we kind of did the job.”

Schmid also was pleased with Scott’s ability to step right into a 90-minute role, especially after having played only two minutes over the first two months of the season.

“Zach is a good pro,” Schmid said. “He works really hard, and I knew he was going to be prepared. I thought that there were some ups and downs a little bit in training for him this year. But I always had confidence that Zach would be ready to play, and we thought that (Dallas) was a good matchup for him. ... I thought he responded and played very well.”

Seattle’s back line almost certainly will be tweaked again Sunday when the Sounders return to action at New England. Traore seems likely to return to his central back spot alongside Chad Marshall. Schmid said Gonzalez would make the trip and should be ready for significant minutes after recovering from a hamstring injury.

ADDED TIME

U.S. national team coach Jurgen Klinsmann’s selections for the final camp before the World Cup in Brazil next month are expected to be revealed Monday. Seattle’s Clint Dempsey is considered a lock, while Evans and fellow Sounder DeAndre Yedlin are under consideration. Evans said he hasn’t been told anything official and is watching his email for an invitation. … Pierce County-based Sounders U-23 will play a preseason friendly at 8 p.m. Friday at Bellingham United.

Don Ruiz: 253-597-8808 don.ruiz@thenewstribune.com blog.thenewstribune.com/soccer

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