Clint Dempsey, Chad Marshall back in Sounders FC camp ahead of busy week

Sounders FC defender Chad Marshall continued to inch closer to a full return from injury on Monday, offering hope that the reigning MLS Defender of the Year could be back on the field for the team’s stretch run.

Sounders Head Coach Sigi Schmid did not offer a timeline for Marshall’s return – he’s been out since suffering a sprained neck during training on September 30 – but he did say Marshall worked out with the full team for the bulk of the team’s training session Monday. The Sounders play on the road against the Houston Dynamo on Sunday (2 p.m. PT; ESPN/El Rey 1360 AM/770 KKTH), and can clinch a berth in the MLS postseason with a win.

“Chad’s good,” Schmid said. “We’re just starting him through the heading protocol, to make sure there are no issues there. He went through basically two-thirds of training today.”

Sounders forward Clint Dempsey was also back with the club on Monday after logging 120 minutes with the U.S. national team in a dramatic 3-2 loss to Mexico in the CONCACAF Cup on Saturday night. Dempsey is expected to return to full training on Tuesday after he and seven other MLS players were released from USMNT duty on Sunday.

Midfielder/defender Brad Evans was absent from training while still on duty with the USMNT, who will play Costa Rica in an international friendly on Tuesday at Red Bull Arena in Harrison, N.J.