Head Coach Brian Schmetzer provided some exciting updates for Seattle Sounders fans during his weekly appearance on 950 KJR AM on Thursday night.
Coming off a string of difficult results, Schmetzer set the tone for the final two remaining games in the MLS regular season as the squad gears up for its 13th consecutive appearance in the Audi MLS Cup Playoffs.
“We need to win the last two games,” Schmetzer told Dave “Softy” Mahler and Dick Fain. “It’s as simple as that… I want the team to just be playing better when we’re going into the playoffs. That’s the critical part.”
According to Schmetzer, the team will be bolstered by the return of some key veteran players for their final home game of the MLS regular season on Monday (7:00 p.m. PT; TUDN, Twitter, FOX 13+, Prime Video, 950 KJR AM, El Rey 1360AM | TICKETS), including club captain Nicolás Lodeiro, who made his return from injury as a substitute against LAFC.
“We are assessing his knee… If Nico’s knee doesn’t swell up and is good, and he feels good, there’s for sure a really good chance he’s going to start the game,” said Schmetzer. “And then we’ll just run him out there as long as we can. If not, he’s definitely going to feature in the match as a sub. If his knee holds up, I’m not afraid to start him.”
Schmetzer noted that Will Bruin, who picked up a knock against LAFC, is going through testing and could be missing on Monday. However, he did note that Jordan Morris could make his long-awaited return to the field after recovering from an ACL injury suffered while on loan with Swansea City in February.
“Jordan Morris is going to feature in that game against the Galaxy, I know that,” he said. “The doctors have given him the medical clearance so he will feature against the Galaxy.”
In other exciting news, Schmetzer said that Golden Boot contender Raúl Ruidíaz, who has 16 goals on the season, could possibly feature after picking up a hamstring injury a few weeks back.
“Raul is close,” he said. “He may make it, but again, his long-term health for the playoffs is a little more important there. So, he’s got to go through testing this week and then we’ll see.”
Regardless of which players feature in the match, Schmetzer made one thing very clear: the team will come flying out of the gates and fired up from the opening whistle.
“I want my team to play on the front foot,” said Schmetzer. “We’re at home. We’ve got to take it to them… you’ll see a fast, entertaining game for sure.”