After a 1-0 loss to the Portland Timbers on Sunday, Sounders FC Head Coach Sigi Schmid said he felt the team was snake bit. By Wednesday, he seems to have found the vaccine for any venom remaining from a three-match losing streak. Three players whose availability for Saturday’s match against FC Dallas was in question all trained with the team on Wednesday and Schmid wouldn’t rule Eddie Johnson, Clint Dempsey or Obafemi Martins out for the important contest.
Johnson and Martins both missed the match on Sunday and did some extensive fitness work for part of the training session while Dempsey suffered a shoulder sprain against the Timbers and was optimistic about his own availability against Dallas.
“It still hurts. It’s just some swelling and it’s definitely uncomfortable,” said Dempsey, who had missed the previous four matches with a hamstring strain. “I’ll just see if there’s a way that I can keep pushing through it and be available for the weekend.”
Dempsey said that if he feels like he can contribute to the team he wants to be on the field.
“As long as you can deal with the pain and still play at a good level, then that’s the most important thing. But if you’re out there and you can’t do the things that you normally do and you’re not able to impact the game, then it doesn’t make much sense to play,” he said. “I’m a fighter. I wanted to be in the whole time. There’s not many games left and I want to make the most of it.”
Martins has missed the last two matches with a groin injury and Schmid said the team will have a better idea of his availability after training in Seattle on Thursday. Johnson also missed Sunday’s match with a groin injury that caused him to return early from a call-up with the U.S. National Team for two World Cup qualifying matches last week.
“Physically I’m good … mentally and spiritually,” a jovial Johnson said after training on Wednesday. “It’s good to be back out on the field, running around, training with the boys and I’m looking forward to us trying to turn things around and get better as a team with a very important two games left in the season.”
The team will also have the boost of Brad Evans rejoining the team after starting two matches for the U.S. in wins against Jamaica and Panama. He is scheduled to rejoin Sounders FC in Dallas, where the team will travel on Thursday and train Friday before Saturday’s match at Toyota Stadium.
It is an important match against Dallas, as Seattle looks to clinch a playoff berth and build momentum into the postseason.
“We need to get the points to get into the playoffs, so the Dallas game is important,” Schmid said. “Every game is important now.”
The team will play Saturday without Osvaldo Alonso after the midfielder was shown a red card against Portland on Sunday. He is scheduled to return in the regular season finale against the LA Galaxy on October 27 at CenturyLink Field. Schmid also said midfielder Steve Zakuani suffered a setback against Portland and didn’t train on Wednesday.