TUKWILA, Wash. — With the start of the season just a week-and-a-half away, Seattle’s Eddie Johnson and Fredy Montero have only played together in a couple of short-sided scrimmages. But Sounders head coach Sigi Schmid isn’t going to use the lack of playing time together as an excuse to rush Johnson’s recovery and risk further injury.
“We’re trying to bring him along carefully right now, and slowly,” Schmid said after Sunday’s frigid training session. “They’re both good players and good players develop an understanding quite quickly.”
Should Johnson’s hamstring allow him to participate, he could get some time alongside Montero during Wednesday’s Community Shield match against Jaguares de Chiapas. When asked, both players were complimentary of the other’s abilities and seemed eager to get the partnership started.
“He is a good player,” Montero said of Johnson. “He’s been playing out of the country in Europe, so he’s going to bring that experience to the team.”
Echoed Johnson: “Fredy Montero — he’s a great player. Great ability, good philosophy of the game.”
“With saying that, there wouldn’t be no Fredy Montero if he didn’t have 10 other guys behind him doing the other things that are important—the little things,” added Johnson, who trained primarily on the side Sunday morning.
Seattle will attempt to play its starters for most of the match against Jaguares in an effort to gauge the level of competition they’ll face when they continue their CONCACAF Champions League campaign against Santos Laguna on March 7.
Johnson said he’d like to play Wednesday, but deferred to Schmid for the final decision.
A bug has circulated around the Sounders team, with a handful of players missing training on Sunday. Jeff Parke and Jhon Kennedy Hurtado were among the players who sat out. Schmid didn’t believe the illnesses to be overly serious and expects many of the players to be back in training Monday.
“We have some guys who are out here that already had it and gone through it, even within the coaching staff and the ownership group,” Schmid said. “I think everybody gets over it. It’s been like a 24 or 48 [hours] type of thing.”