Sounders FC

Banged-up Sounders ready for trip to Honduras

Fredy Montero and Steve Zakuani have accounted for 15 of the 23 goals the Seattle Sounders have scored in MLS play this season.

However, neither player is certain to be on the charter flight today that will take the Sounders to Honduras, where they will meet Marathon in the opening game of CONCACAF Champions League group play Thursday.

“It’s sort of a day-to-day thing with both of them,” coach Sigi Schmid said after practice Monday. “Fredy obviously (in training) we wanted to keep him away from impacts and things like that. But his quad is coming along, and we think he is OK. He hasn’t had any real symptoms, so we think he’s OK that way. Steve it’s just we wanted to see what he could do … and see how he responds.”

Montero suffered both head and leg injuries in the first half of Seattle’s draw at Chivas USA on Saturday when he collided with goalkeeper Zach Thornton, who looks several rippling muscles beyond the 230 pounds listed on the roster.

Montero stayed down for a couple of minutes, but he remained in the game until the 86th minute.

“I was confused,” Montero said in Spanish on Monday, with teammate David Estrada translating. “… I never thought about coming out, but when I came home and saw the replay, that’s when I thought I should have come out.”

Schmid said the team and Major League soccer have standards regulating when a player can return from a head injury. And while he views the leg injury as more problematic, Montero said he would be ready.

Zakuani, however, seemed less certain about his status. He said he had been bothered by groin soreness after practice for the last couple of weeks. However, it began bothering him during training last week, and he sat out the Chivas game while the training staff tried to diagnose the problem.

“When it’s something where you’re not sure exactly what it is, you get a bit nervous,” Zakuani said. “... It’s something where I’m going to be smart about it. Like I said to the coach before the game, I’d rather miss a game and come back rather than keep playing and break down and miss six or seven games.”

Designated player Alvaro Fernandez got his first starting assignment in place of Zakuani on Saturday.

Replacing the combination of such offensively productive players would be even more difficult: Montero has eight goals and nine assists, Zakuani has seven goals and three assists.

However, goalkeeper Kasey Keller said the club has the depth to adapt.

“I think we’ve shown through different games over the last couple of years that we have guys who are more than ready to step in and are waiting for that opportunity,” Keller said. “Part of training (Monday) looked really intense from guys who are looking to get that opportunity to play if Sigi chooses to rest people or guys are banged up and can’t play. I’m very content with the guys who are going to come in.”

One method of restocking the roster evaporated Sunday with the end of the international transfer period.

“There were a lot of dominoes that would have had to have fallen to actually make another move in the transfer window,” general manager Adrian Hanauer said. “So, when the first and second dominoes weren’t falling, it was hard to see a way to the fifth domino falling.”

ADDED TIME

Sounders FC said that the opponent and date for its third and final international friendly of 2010 will be announced next week. … Real Salt Lake midfielder Javier Morales was voted MLS player of the week after scoring both goals in his club’s 2-0 win over Columbus on Saturday. … Colorado native Davy Armstrong, who had been scheduled to begin training with the University of Washington soccer team today, instead signed a pro contract with the Colorado Rapids on Monday.

Don Ruiz, 253-597-8808 don.ruiz@thenewstribune.com blog.thenewstribune.com/soccer

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