USOC: Seattle injury risk increases with quick turnaround

Marc Burch in action for the Seattle Sounders

Photo Credit: 
Courtesy of Seattle Sounders FC

PORTLAND, Ore. — There will be no rest for the tired and heartbroken.

Coming off what might be their most emotional loss of the season, the Seattle Sounders will get a little more than 48 hours of rest before playing the San Jose Earthquakes on Tuesday in the US Open Cup quarterfinals at Kezar Stadium in San Francisco (10:30 pm ET; streamed live on sjearthquakes.com).

There are some very real concerns with the short gap between games.

“Definitely, the risk of injury increases dramatically,” strength and conditioning coach Dave Tenney said about the short rest. “If you look at a one-game week vs. a two- or three-game week, the risk of injury goes way up. With 48 hours, it’s only more so. It’s going to take guys that are fully recovered to come around. Those are the guys who we put on the field.”

In preparation for the quick turnaround, the Sounders brought ice baths with them to Portland to help players with the recovery process following Sunday’s loss to the Portland Timbers.

“It’s really rare,” Tenney explained. “It’s a good advantage to have a two o’clock game so guys will get a good night of sleep, as opposed to a seven o’clock game.”

Tenney said there were a few other issues that work at least partially in the Sounders’ favor. One is that two of Sunday’s starters — Jeff Parke and Brad Evans — played no more than a half. While Parke was forced to leave the game with what the team only called dizziness, Evans’ was fine physically.

Another is that the Sounders have grown accustomed to playing on relatively short rest. While they’ve never had to play a Tuesday game following a Sunday game during the MLS era, several of them had to deal with those situations when they played in the lower divisions and in college.

Although he has basically played all the available minutes since returning from the international break, Fredy Montero said he hopes to be one of those players. Montero will already be forced to miss next Saturday’s game against the New England Revolution after he picked up a red card in the 89th minute against the Timbers.

“Sure, if the coach says I’m going to play, I’m always ready,” Montero said. “I always want to play.”