TUKWILA, Wash. – The Seattle Sounders got their second fight in as many weeks on Tuesday, although as before, the goal was more fitness than preparing for the first playoff game in weeks.
This is mainly due to the fact that Sounders is still significantly shortened due to injuries and international absences. The situation is such that the fight consisted mostly of Tacoma Defiance and Sounders Academy players, although the first team team, which had the majority of Sounders regular players, had enough quality to defeat Defiance 2-0 thanks to Nicolas ’goals. Benezet and Jordan Morris.
“We had targeted minutes of play, and we continued to do so,” head coach Brian Schmetzer said. “We work them out for 80 minutes. Jordan Morris was good at pushing them out for 80 minutes.”
Schmetzer said he was pleased with the training, but looks forward to getting more regular players on Friday as the international break ended on Tuesday and several injured players are scheduled to resume training to the fullest.
Unfortunately, the Sounders did not survive unharmed. Nouhou started in Cameroon’s 1-0 victory over Ivory Coast, leading him to the final round of the AFC qualifiers. However, the central defender only took five minutes to leave the field due to an obvious shoulder injury. There was no updated information on his condition at the time of publication.
Meanwhile, Xavier Arreaga left Ecuador before his CONMEBOL qualifier against Chile on Tuesday night. The injury prognosis was slightly better on that front.
“Xavi is here in Seattle and is being evaluated,” Schmetzer said. “He has a real leg injury. They’ve done magnetic resonance imaging, [and] Hopefully he gets to practice on Friday. We can get him to some exercise on Friday, and then let’s see if he’s in good enough shape.
At least, Schmetzer has not yet ruled out Arreaga for a match against Real Salt Lake, although his position is still in the air.
Despite these absences, the struggle was beneficial, if for no other reason than to give Morris a new chance to get longer minutes.
“This is perfect for him because he needs to get that sharpness,” Schmetzer said. “He’s seriously injured.”
Thanks to the fight, Schmetzer can also see how Morris can best be deployed in the Sounders system. Morris played as a striker in the first half and then as one of the advanced midfielders in the second half.
“In previous years 4-2-3-1, we had Jordan on one side and Cristia on the other,” Schmetzer said. “Cristian can run in his pocket and he runs from behind to the prime relief area, and Jordan is a more deep threat and transition type. They were different, although technically they play in the same place.
“So [today] I had Jordan in front as a center striker, and I brought him back so he could run from a deeper position. We will make a decision based on Raul [Ruidiaz]”Where Jordan fits, and we’ll leave.”
When all the Sounders are back on the practice field, the final sprint will begin next Tuesday, although Schmetzer says he probably won’t have much to do to get his players mentally ready.
“If I have to say something, something is broken a long time ago,” Schmetzer said. “It’s a playoff game, we understand it’s one game. If you get a bad performance, you’re gone. I shouldn’t motivate them.
Schmtezer confirmed that he expects João Paulo, Jimmy Medranda and Raúl Ruidíaz to practice full Friday. In addition, Nicolas Lodeiro should be present to some extent. “Nico will be here on Friday, but with limited training,” Schmetzer said. “We have to let him back in because of that plum. We just have to be careful about the miles he drives.