MOUNT PLEASANT, S.C. — Seattle Sounders head coach Brian Schmetzer expects midfielder Harry Shipp to feature in Wednesday’s Carolina Challenge Cup match against Atlanta United and on Saturday against Columbus Crew SC.
Shipp has missed the last two-plus weeks after suffering an ankle injury against the Portland Timbers during a Desert Diamond friendly in Tucson, Ariz., but he had his first full training on Monday and is eager to get back on the pitch.
“I had gone through progression with the medical staff and fitness guys,” Shipp said. “Even though I wasn’t able to cut and do other things for a couple weeks, I was trying to keep my fitness up so I’d be able to play. The one thing I wasn’t able to do before today was shoot, so today I got a couple shots in.”
Shipp said he felt good shooting and had no issues. He had only done short passes previously, so he was pleased to get back to striking the ball again.
Shipp is primarily focused on his sharpness heading into the final two friendlies before the MLS regular-season opener against the Houston Dynamo on March 4 (5:30 p.m. PT | Matchcenter). Missing a large chunk of preseason with a new team can be difficult, especially as one tries to mesh with new teammates, but Shipp is concentrating on getting his field awareness back to where it needs to be.
“It’s easy to play the five- and 10-yard pass, but it’s about playing that 10-yard pass, getting it back and knowing when to play that 25-, 30-yard switch,” Shipp said. “Seeing beyond your initial surroundings is what I’m trying to work on in the next couple games.”