With a playoff berth in hand, Sounders FC Head Coach Sigi Schmid is faced with the age-old debate of rest vs. rhythm as Seattle prepares for the final match of the regular season against the LA Galaxy on Sunday.
Sounders FC had two players ease closer to being available for Sunday’s regular season finale while another was all but ruled out for the rest of the season as Schmid gave his midweek injury report after training on Wednesday. Forward Obafemi Martins (groin) and defender Djimi Traore (knee) both worked more in training after both had played just one of the last four matches for Seattle.
“It’s getting better. Oba did the first part of training and was full-in and when it started to hurt a little bit we pulled him out at that stage. Djimi was able to go through all of training today,” Schmid said.
Martins has eight goals and four assists in 20 matches, while Traore has started 24 matches at center back, but just two in the last seven matches.
While those two look closer to game action, Steve Zakuani looks further away, according to Schmid.
After starting the first six matches of the season, Zakuani underwent surgery to repair a sports hernia. He has since appeared in two matches as a second-half substitute, totaling 492 minutes – his highest total since a breakout season in 2010 when he had 10 goals and six assists. After playing 13 minutes against the Portland Timbers on October 13, he experienced a setback, though.
“Steve Zakuani hasn’t really trained since the Portland game,” Schmid said. “The injury is such that he doesn’t feel that he’s going to be able to come back this season.”
In addition, defender Leo Gonzalez continued to make progress, though Schmid indicated on Tuesday that he may be rested to give him a few extra recovery days before the playoffs start. Schmid also said midfielder Shalrie Joseph could be a possibility once the playoffs start as he comes back from a sprained knee.
“You want to keep players in rhythm, but if you know you have a guy that’s got a knock going in or something that another two or three days will help, then you have to give him those two or three days,” Schmid said. “I think it’s important to go in healthy. I think that’s the most important thing.”