Ideally, Seattle Sounders FC would like to settle its series with Houston sometime before Nov. 8.
“A week – a normal week,” coach Sigi Schmid said Friday when asked the ideal length between games. “Ten days is a long time. But we will manage it, and we will make it work.”
So, Schmid has begun allocating the available time.
Most of the players who drew significant minutes in the scoreless series-opener against Houston on Thursday worked out only lightly Friday.
Meanwhile, the reserves played an hour-long, full-field scrimmage at Starfire Sports Complex in Tukwila.
“It was important for the guys who haven’t been playing as much to get a solid 60 (minutes) in,” Schmid said. “We didn’t want to take them to 90 because it’s been a while since some of them played 90, without us having a reserve league.
“So we didn’t want to put them in that zone where maybe there’s an injury. But we felt it was good for them to get a solid 60 minutes in.”
Next, the Sounders will take the weekend off, return to training Monday, and then fly to Houston after a short Friday workout.
One player who could benefit most from the long layoff is defender Tyrone Marshall, who was a late scratch from the playoff opener due to a ligament strain in his right knee.
Marshall was scheduled to undergo a minor medical procedure Friday. But before that, he was hopeful – although not certain – that he will be ready by game day.
“I feel like it’s feeling better,” he said. “(Thursday) night it was 24 hours after the incident happened, so it was still kind of fresh. The more time you get to rest it, the better it is. We’ve got a couple of days off to rest it this weekend, and that will definitely help. And we have a long week next week, and the more time it is to heal for me the better it is.”
The Sounders and Dynamo will meet at noon Nov. 8 at Robertson Stadium on the University of Houston campus. This is an aggregate-score series, but because the first game was a draw, the significance of the concluding game is straightforward: The team that wins will advance to the Western Conference final. If the game is tied at the end of regulation, the teams will play 30 additional minutes. If the score remains even, the series will be determined by penalty kicks.
The Sounders played to a 1-1 draw in their only previous visit to Houston, and players sounded confident that they can win there. Schmid said he saw nothing in the opening game that would cause him to doubt that.
“I’ve watched it twice, and I thought actually on tape we played a little better than I thought live,” he said. “I thought we were unlucky when you look at some of the chances. Although we gave up I think three good chances on our end, we had more good chances at the other end of the field. Tactically I can see some things that we can do a little bit better and we need to do better when we go into Houston. But there is nothing that I saw that makes me question or doubt that we can win in Houston.”
Don Ruiz, 253-597-8808
Sounders FC at Houston Dynamo, noon Nov. 8, Ch. 5, 97.3-FM