Rest is becoming a luxury Sounders FC can no longer afford.
With the second half of this MLS season kicking off Sunday when Dallas visits, the Sounders may have to get their rest over the offseason. And that offseason will be longer than any of them would like if they don’t turn their season around soon.
“We’ve 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,” coach Sigi Schmid said Friday after training at Qwest Field. “We have to start what we think is the best lineup.”
And what Schmid considers his best lineup could be shifting in the wake of a disappointing 4-8-3 first half. Schmid seems ready to infuse his lineup with new blood, after a mostly reserve lineup dominated Los Angeles in a 2-0 win in the U.S. Open Cup quarterfinals Wednesday.
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“Obviously, a lot of guys made a pretty strong case for themselves,” he said in his postgame remarks. Soon after, he returned to that theme: “The guys today put in a pretty good claim for getting on the field again.”
He called Nate Jaqua, who scored both goals, “tremendous.”
Schmid used that word again in describing rookie midfielder Miguel Montaño: “Tremendous,” he said. “... But on top of his (offensive contributions), we also got a great defensive effort from him. He kept pressure on the Galaxy offensively and defensively, and that’s what you want from your wide guys.”
Schmid also praised his makeshift back line, which meshed recent regulars Jeff Parke and Patrick Ianni with less-used Tyson Wahl and Zach Scott – singling out the latter pair as “good” and “very good,” respectively.
However, the entire back four played all 90 minutes Wednesday, while Montaño went 71, Jaqua 83 and rookie Michael Seamon 78.
Yet Schmid said that will not affect his lineup Sunday, when the club will be playing its fifth game in 15 days. Three days of recovery time will have to be enough, he said, especially with the playoffs hanging in the balance.
With 15 points at the season’s midpoint, the Sounders probably will have to average almost two points per game the rest of the way to place among the league’s eight playoff qualifiers. That is a pace that would roughly require wins in all remaining home games and draws in all remaining road games.
That puts pressure on the Sounders to start turning things around against Dallas (5-2-6), one of the six clubs above them in the Western Conference standings.
“We’ve got to get points,” Schmid said. “It doesn’t matter what the other teams do. It’s a matter of us getting points.”
Defensive midfielder Osvaldo Alonso (quadriceps) increased his training Friday and could be available for Dallas. ... CONCACAF has announced that if the Sounders advance from their Champions League preliminary-round pairing with Metapan of El Salvador (July 28 in Seattle; Aug. 3 away) they will advance into group-play matches with Marathon of Honduras or Tauro of Panama on Aug. 19, and Monterrey of Mexico on Aug. 25.
Don Ruiz, 253-597-8808 firstname.lastname@example.org blog.thenewstribune.com/soccer