Neither goalkeeper Kasey Keller nor forward Fredy Montero was around for the end of Sounders FC training Tuesday at Qwest Field.
As the hours ticked down to Seattle’s first-round MLS playoff opener against Houston on Thursday, Montero was sent home with what was described as a low-grade fever. Keller started practice, but left the pitch with a left-ankle problem.
“(Keller) just trained a little bit, and was a little bit sore,” coach Sigi Schmid said. “And we said, ‘Just go on in early and take care of it.’ So, we feel fine. He’ll be ready to go on Thursday. His ankle was a little bit sore today.
“Fredy had a low-grade fever, so we wanted to keep him away from the team. He came in, but we said, ‘No, go home.’ We just sent him to the doctor and sent him home. We just wanted to be sure with a low-grade fever that nothing was going to happen.”
Keller, a Lacey native, and Montero were both MLS All-Stars this season. Keller ended the regular season with the league’s second-best goals-against average, while Montero led the Sounders with 12 goals and led the league in shots taken.
Montero missed three games during the regular season. In those cases, Schmid either moved Freddie Ljungberg from midfield to forward or subbed in Sebastien Le Toux. Roger Levesque, who came on late in the season, also could be a possible replacement if needed.
If Keller couldn’t go, his place would be taken by Terry Boss, who was signed June 26. He spent time with the New York Red Bulls in 2008-09 and played in the United Soccer Leagues. Boss was USL-2 goalkeeper of the year in 2008.
As a Sounder, Boss played the second half of the Chelsea and Barcelona friendlies, but he hasn’t appeared in a regular season game.
“As a backup goalkeeper, you’ve got to prepare every day to be your best,” Boss said. “You know you get that one shot and you’ve got to be ready. You can’t let it become mind-numbing. You’ve got to know that’s your job on this team: to help your team be successful if you’re called upon.”
Even without playing time, Boss said he has benefited from his four months of practice with his new teammates. He said he expects Keller to start against the Dynamo, but added that he would be ready if needed.
“Playing with the guys in the Barcelona and the Chelsea games was a good experience,” Boss said. “And just to get the feel of this stadium and get to know the guys every day a little bit better since I got here in June. I think we’ve jelled a little bit better, and they have confidence in me, and me in them. It’s just what you’ve got to do.”
As the Sounders trained at Qwest Field, work crews were in the lower rows of the upper deck, removing tarp from the 3,000 loge seats that will be opened – and apparently filled – for Thursday night’s playoff game.
Even with the additional seats – which ring the upper deck below the entrance tunnels – the game looks like it’s destined to sell out. As of Tuesday afternoon, only scattered single tickets remained.
Don Ruiz: 253-597-8808