TUKWILA, Wash. — For the second consecutive week, the Seattle Sounders face a team undergoing a coaching change. After drawing 0-0 with the Frank Klopas-coached Chicago Fire last weekend, Seattle entertain the Vancouver Whitecaps on Saturday night at Qwest Field. (10:30 pm ET; FOX Soccer, TSN2)
The Whitecaps recently underwent a coaching change of their own, with Tom Soehn stepping in for the dismissed Teitur Thordarson. Seattle’s coach Sigi Schmid says the Whitecaps will be dangerous after their first full week of practice under Soehn.
Soehn has changed the positions of some players, but the playing style and formation appear to be stabilized.
“It’s a more structured 4-4-2,” Schmid said of Vancouver. “They’ve tried to stay more compact. This is the first week that he has had a week to train the team. Last week it was go from game to game. I think you’ll see more of Tommy Soehn’s influence this week than you have in the prior two games.”
Seattle come into the match having lost their last home game to FC Dallas. The Sounders might be without the services of Uruguayan DP Álvaro Fernández, who is listed in the injury report as questionable.
Should Fernández be unable to go, midfielder Lamar Neagle would be a likely choice to make his second consecutive start at left midfield.
For Vancouver, DP striker Eric Hassli is available after serving a suspension for a red card, his third of the season.
Zakuani makes an appearance
Steve Zakuani attended Friday’s training and spoke to reporters for the first time since his injury. He credited David Beckham and Seattle Seahawks receiver Deon Butler with helpful words as he recovers from a broken leg suffered April 22.
Zakuani appeared to put weight on the injured leg and walked ably without the aid of a crutch.
Pair of trialists in Seattle
The Sounders welcomed two trialists this week, Irish forward Cillian Sheridan and Myron Samuel of St. Vincent in the Caribbean. Both played 45 minutes in the Sounders’ Reserve match on Tuesday, with Sheridan getting a goal.
Technical director Chris Henderson hinted that a few other players may be coming Seattle’s way. Seattle are looking to shore up the striker position left thin by the retirement of Blaise Nkufo and O’Brian White’s blood clot surgery.
“We'll have other trialists come in,” Henderson told the Seattle Times. “In the next 3-4 weeks, we'll have a lot of players coming in that we're looking at and [Sheridan] is one of them.”