The Seattle Sounders are ready to test themselves against one of the top clubs in the world on Wednesday night at CenturyLink Field (7:30 p.m. PT; JOEtv, YouTube TV, El Rey 1360AM | TICKETS) when they host Borussia Dortmund of the German Bundesliga.
Sandwiched between home games against Atlanta United, which Seattle won 2-1 on Sunday, and the Portland Timbers, the midweek fixture presents an opportunity to evaluate the club’s depth and talent against one of Europe’s perennial powerhouses.
“I want the guys who step on the field to make sure they’re focused on Dortmund because we obviously want to put on a performance,” said Sounders Head Coach Brian Schmetzer. “Fans are paying money to watch us play. So, we need to make sure that the group that gets out there is prepared, organized and anxious to play.”
Midway through the 2019 season, 26 different players have taken the field for the Seattle Sounders in MLS play. However, many of those squad rotations were due to injury international duty.
With matches against Dortmund on Wednesday and Portland on Sunday, this week is the first time all year in which Schmetzer has to mix-and-match his roster based on the opponent.
“This is actually the first test of balancing minutes because we’ve been shorthanded,” said Schmetzer. “I guess you could say that the first few games of the year, we could have rotated some guys, but the team was going good and it was early in the season. For this friendly, for the next couple of games, when you have everybody back there will be more balancing of the team and giving guys the rest that they need.”
Although the team struggled to pick up results during its extended road trip with so many players absent, it provided the coaching staff extremely valuable data points on players who wouldn’t normally find themselves in the Starting XI.
According to midfielder Jordy Delem, who put in several solid performances against LAFC, Minnesota United and the Houston Dynamo earlier in the campaign, the Dortmund game is a golden opportunity for players to stake a claim for more minutes going forward.
“For us, it’s a good test,” Delem said. “It’s good for us to get some minutes to show what we can do and that the coaching staff can trust us. Dortmund is a great team, so the goal is to have fun and, of course, try to win.”
The Sounders face a quick turnaround after Wednesday’s game, hosting the Timbers at CenturyLink Field on Sunday (6:30 p.m. PT; FS1, YouTube TV, Sports Radio KJR, El Rey 1360AM; TICKETS)