This one hurts: EJ says he's back, Rosales still a question
TUKWILA, Wash. — Eddie Johnson says he’s going to play on Thursday, but Mauro Rosales’ status is more uncertain.
It was that kind of day at Seattle Sounders training, where good news was almost immediately followed by the more sobering kind ahead of Thursday night’s Western Conference Semifinals second leg at Real Salt Lake (9 pm ET; watch LIVE online).
“I’m feeling good,” said Johnson, who went through his most extensive practice since leaving the Sounders’ regular-season finale on Oct. 29 just before halftime. “It’s good to get back out to training and run around, play with the guys. I’m looking forward to the game. It’s an important game for us. We know the importance of it. We’ve worked all year to set goals for these moments as a team and are looking forward to the game.
“I’ve come too far to not be a part of this special thing we have going on as a team. We know how much it means to our fans and our organization.”
Johnson’s presence was missed in last Friday’s first leg against Real Salt Lake. The Sounders were able to generate numerous scoring chances, but came up empty each time through a combination of poor finishing and RSL goalkeeper Nick Rimando’s stellar play.
Watching it all unfold from above was not easy for Johnson.
“I’ve been giving Adam Johansson and [Christian] Tiffert and those guys a hard time,” Johnson said. “The good thing is that creating opportunities and guys are hungry in the box to get on the end of things. Hopefully we can carry that into the second leg.”
While the Sounders will likely have their top scorer available, there are some doubts about the man who provided assists on six of his 14 goals.
Rosales did not participate in Monday’s practice, dealing with what appeared to be a hamstring issue.
“They wanted to do some testing and so forth and see where he’s at and make sure we have a chance to get him for Thursday,” head coach Sigi Schmid said of his captain. “We have to look at what everything says, what the medical people say, then we’ll have an idea if he can go. It’s the same like Eddie’s where it’s not as bad as we initially felt it was. Now it’s just a matter of seeing how he comes along each day.”
Following Friday’s tie, Rosales seemed hopeful that he could play.
“I’m doing OK,” he said. “I’m going to try to recover this week.”