Sigi Schmid

Sounders FC starters return strong ahead of Saturday's match

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Don’t look now, but Sounders FC could have a full-strength starting lineup on the pitch for Saturday’s match with the Houston Dynamo.


“Everybody felt all right,” said Sigi Schmid after training on Thursday at CenturyLink Field. “On Friday if they still feel all right, they should all pretty much be available to go. It’s just a matter of how everybody’s feeling muscular-wise and whether they’re suffering any setbacks.”


In the club’s last match against FC Dallas, the Sounders were without a host of starters due to various injuries and International call-ups. Forwards Clint Dempsey and Obafemi Martins and defender Chad Marshall were left with slight knocks, while midfielder Ozzie Alonso has been recovering from preseason groin surgery. Also missing was midfielder Marco Pappa, who was away with the Guatemalan National Team. 


All five players, four of which were All-Stars in 2014, could be available to return to the starting lineup against Houston.


“We created some really good looks in front of goal last game,” said Dempsey of the team’s 0-0 draw with Dallas in Frisco. “But yeah, it’s always good to have your full team available for selection, and it makes it more difficult for the Head Coach to make decisions.”


Decisions are exactly what Schmid will have to make. Despite the scoreless result in Texas, he was able to use a number of the club’s developing players like Cristian Roldan (who started his first MLS match), Victor Mansaray and Oniel Fisher.


With the veterans returning, at least for the match with Houston, it may be tougher to get them into the First Team lineup - which Schmid hopes will further motivate them. 


“You always look forward to being able to choose from the whole group,” said Schmid of the task ahead. “So that’s something that we’re looking forward to. I think the young players have done well and will continue to push, which makes the other players better also.”


With Houston struggling on offense – having only scored two goals so far in the 2015 season – and a full complement of players to choose from, the Sounders could have the edge in this Western Conference fixture, especially when playing in front of the always boisterous home crowd at CenturyLink Field. 


And if there were any doubts, Schmid’s leading goal-scorer Dempsey made it clear that he wants to be out there on Saturday.


“It’s not really up to me, but I’ve been feeling good in training,” said Dempsey. “I want to start, so we’ll see what happens.”


Sounders FC and the Houston Dynamo will kick off from the Xbox Pitch at 7:00 p.m. PT with live television coverage on Q13 FOX and full Twitter play-by-play on @LIVESounders.

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