The Seattle Sounders trained today at Starfire with designated players Clint Dempsey, Obafemi Martins and Nelson Valdez all sharing the pitch.
“It’s the first time that they’re working together,” coach Sigi Schmid said. “They just have to work together, get their understanding down. This is really the first practice that all three have been together. … Chances are much better each day we’ve got to see how they are the next day and how they feel, and if they feel they can go.”
Still, a first-choice lineup will likely continue to elude the Sounders, as midfielder Marco Pappa and central defender Roman Torres are away with their respective national teams.
However, Toronto will be dealing with key absences of their own, as forward Sebastian Giovinco is out with an adductor injury while forward Jozy Altidore is away with the U.S. national team. That should be an overall advantage for Seattle when the teams meet at 7 p.m. Saturday at CenturyLink Field, but Schmid says it makes preparations more difficult.
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“The challenge right now obviously with Giovinco being hurt and Altidore being gone is trying to figure out what formation they’re going to come with,” he said. “Are they going to drop back in to a 4-4-2. Are they going to come at us with the 4-2-3-1 that they’ve played the last couple of games. Who’s going to replace those particular people. Are we going to see Herculez Gomez start his first game? Is Luke Moore back into the mix. So there’s different situations that way that we have to look at, so they present some obstacles there. Obviously they still have some very good players. Michael Bradley is a good player for them, has done a lot of good things. They’re obviously a playoff contender in the East, so they’re obviously a good team.”
Schmid was asked if Toronto must be equaly curious about how he might get his three DPs on the pitch at the same time.
“Yeah, I think it works both ways,’ he said. “It’s one of those things the cuts both ways right now, and I’m sure (coach Greg Vanney) is not going to reveal any secrets, and I’m not. We’ll find out on Saturday evening.”