Sounders FC may be without four superstar players who are in Portland for the 2014 AT&T MLS All-Star Game on Wednesday, but that hasn’t kept Seattle from pressing on in its quest to bounce back from its first consecutive losses of the 2014 season.
While Clint Dempsey, Obafemi Martins, Osvaldo Alonso and DeAndre Yedlin prepare to take on Bayern Munich at Providence Park, the team continues work at its Starfire training ground with an eye on Sunday’s regular season match against the Houston Dynamo at CenturyLink Field.
“Our training plan is really the same for the remaining guys in terms of the amount of work we do and the days off,” Sounders FC Head Coach Sigi Schmid said. “They’ll be back in training on Friday. We’ll see how much they end up playing in the game on Wednesday. Even with them not being here, they have a good idea what we need to do.”
For a team that has missed players for international duty and injury at various points of the season, playing with reduced numbers in training is nothing new. Each time it has been needed, a new player steps up to the plate and keeps the level of play high and competitive each session.
“Nothing is different. We’ve had players out. Everybody can replace somebody on the team,” said defender Djimi Traore, himself rejoining the fold in recent weeks after an adductor strain sidelined him since May 24. “It’s not individual players. It’s the Seattle Sounders. There’s always somebody there to take the place.”
The four players who are away are key components of Seattle’s success early in the season, and having them with the team would be preferable while the team is facing its first real struggle of the season. However, instead the team is taking the opportunity to celebrate the five players—including defender Chad Marshall—that were honored with All-Star selections.
With or without those stars, the club pushes on with the same approach as the next match nears on Sunday.
“We miss them. They are good friends besides good soccer players. While they are at the All-Star Game, that’s good for them. It was a reward for the whole team,” midfielder Gonzalo Pineda said. “The mentality is looking for revenge and waiting for the next game. In the next game, we will be better.”