A crazy travel schedule and the CONCACAF Champions League preliminary round have had the Seattle Sounders living out of their suitcases for almost a week. In such hectic conditions, it can be difficult for a team to retain its mojo.
It’s no different for Seattle, who have seen their rhythm further disrupted by a small hiatus late last week.
The Sounders organization took advantage of a rescheduled game vs. Philadelphia last weekend to give the players some rest after the Manchester United friendly, meaning a training session last Saturday was the team’s only strenuous training work before the trip to Panama to take on San Francisco in Champions League play on Tuesday.
After that match, the club arrived in Houston — where they will take on the Dynamo on Saturday (8:30 pm ET; watch LIVE online) — and scheduled a training session for Thursday. Schmid noted that it was the team’s “second real training in the last 10 days” as they got used to the heat and humidity of that part of Texas. Nevertheless, the coach remains confident that the rest will be the right decision in the long run as the American summer enters its most sweltering stretch.
“I think whenever you take some days off, it takes your team a little while to get back into the rhythm,” Schmid said. “It was important for us in the long term, in the grand scheme of things of wanting to play well into November. ... It was important for us to give them some time off right now because we felt that was important for their regeneration over the long haul.”
Undefeated in their last nine MLS regular-season games, Seattle head into Houston suffering a mini crisis in confidence. The club’s 1-0 loss to San Francisco comes on the heels of a 7-0 loss to Manchester United, a defeat so lopsided that MLS Commissioner Don Garber called out Sigi Schmid’s team selection during the All-Star Game.
“Our view is that if we're going to play these games, we ought to play to win,” Garber told reporters at halftime of the match. “And if a team can't fit it into their schedule either because of congestion or their own priorities, then they shouldn't play in those games.”
Schmid didn’t exactly fire back, but did observe that Garber’s MLS All-Star team didn’t fare much better than they did in 2010 vs. the Red Devils.
“He has his opinion and that’s fine,” Schmid said of Garber. “I want to see our league represented well also."
In an effort to beat the heat and get a little team-building in Thursday afternoon, Schmid took the Sounders to a bowling alley.
Third-string goalkeeper Josh Ford is expected to be in the 18-man roster again as Kasey Keller’s back-up. The rookie from the University of Connecticut was on the bench in Panama as usual second-stringer Terry Boss stayed home with concussion-like symptoms.
Boss suffered the concussion on Manchester United’s first goal of the second half. On the play in question, Boss appeared to take an incidental elbow from Mame Biram Diouf and stayed on his knees for a few seconds after the goal was scored.
“Maybe if Terry was a little more honest with himself, maybe he should have come out of the game at that point,” Schmid said Thursday. “Obviously it was determined after that game that he had had a concussion on that particular play.”