Seattle Sounders coach Sigi Schmid faces tough lineup choices as team gets healthy

TUKWILA, Wash. — Sigi Schmid likes to say he doesn't make lineup choices, the players do. Turns out the Seattle Sounders are making his job espeically hard.

And even despite the absence of midfield linchpin Osvaldo Alonso, Schmid has more players vying for starting spots than he has positions to play them.

The newest addition to the mix is Mauro Rosales, who sat out last week’s win over FC Dallas with a shoulder sprain. Even if the midfielder doesn’t start, he is expected to be able to at least play against the LA Galaxy on Sunday (11 pm ET, ESPN2, live chat on MLSsoccer.com).

“He said he felt pretty good with his arm,” Schmid said of his Argentinean playmaker. “He trained full on, so we’ll make a final decision on that. But we feel pretty confident he can play.”

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In addition to Rosales being close to fully fit, Obafemi Martins has also been a full participant in training all week after coming off the bench in each of the past two weeks. Further bolstering the Sounders’ depth was the revelation that they won’t be losing Mario Martínez to the Honduran national team for a little longer.

“His coach was up here about three weeks ago and we spoke so we have an understanding,” Schmid said when asked if Martínez would be released for Honduras’ upcoming friendly. “We let him go early the last time in January, didn’t bring him into preseason, so he’ll be here through our game with Chivas [on June 1].”

While all this player availability may force Schmid to make some tough decisions, the players seem to be welcoming the challenge.

“It helps our practice and pushes us to be better players everyday,” Seattle midfielder Shalrie Joseph said. “It’s always competitive. Ozzie is a leader and a captain, but with Servando [Carrasco] playing so well, I have to step up my game as well. Brad [Evans] can still slip in there. We have five guys that can really be starting.”