Brad Evans has swapped his blue jersey from the United States national men’s soccer team for the rave green of Seattle Sounders FC.
But midfielder Marco Pappa has put away his Sounders green for the light blue of the Guatemala national team.
It’s that time of year when Major League Soccer rosters hopscotch around the international calendar. And both MLS sides will be affected Saturday when the Sounders meet FC Dallas at CenturyLink Field.
“That’s just the way it is in the summer,” coach Sigi Schmid said. “Our fixtures increase because of Open Cup, and then the way that we are with the national team programs and their national-team tournaments are in the summer and for the Central American teams as well. So that’s when you’ve got the rosters depleted. It’s incumbent upon the guys who get their opportunities to do well.”
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Pappa departed Seattle at a time when he seemed to be rounding into form. He scored his first two goals of the season at the end of May, and is one off the team lead with five assists.
“Marco has done well for us lately, getting some goals, getting some assists,” Schmid said. “And certainly we need other people to step up into that. But I feel confident that will happen.”
The Sounders also are expected to be without midfielder Osvaldo Alonso and forward Chad Barrett because of hamstring injuries. Forward Obafemi Martins is likely to play, although his minutes could be limited, after undergoing nose surgery last week.
Evans’ role also is questionable after playing 45 minutes in the U.S. national team’s 2-1 win over Germany on Wednesday, flying back to the Northwest on Thursday and returning to training Friday.
Evans said he feels good, and credited the increased comforts of traveling home from national team duty.
“With the U.S. team now when you’re traveling internationally it’s business- or first-(class) so you can lie flat and get some sleep,” he said. “That changes things dramatically in terms of your availability for the next game. If I sat in coach like that, no way. But being able to lie down and get some sleep on the plane is probably invaluable going forward.”
Dallas also will be a mixture of roster additions and subtractions. Five players are listed as away at international duty: Tesho Akindele (Canada), Je-Vaughn Watson (Jamaica), Atiba Harris (St. Kitts and Nevis), Moises Hernandez (Guatemala) and Kellyn Acosta (U.S. U-20s). However, Schmid implied it might not be quite that straightforward.
“It’s a little more difficult because you don’t know who’s exactly in or out for their team,” he said. “... I know Akindele will be missing. Watson will be missing. ... It’s a little uncertain if Hernandez is actually with the Guatemala team or not. And Atiba Harris: Is he going to St. Kitts or is he not going? There are a couple of open-ended questions there. But we know some of their key guys, and we’ll prepare for that.”