SEATTLE – It's a remote possibility, admits Sigi Schmid, but there's an outside chance Mauro Rosales could make his return from a two-week injury absence on Saturday, as he traveled with the Seattle Sounders for their game at D.C. United (7:30 pm ET, watch LIVE online).
If he does return – even if it’s a cameo off the bench – it would be particularly fitting.
The last time the Sounders played United, Rosales was forced out of the game when he suffered a knee sprain on a tackle from behind by Daniel Woolard in stoppage time.
Although he has since recovered from that injury, the 2011 MLS Newcomer of the Year has made just three appearances and been unable to start in consecutive MLS matches since then. The Sounders don’t seem to be looking to avenge that tackle, but defender Jeff Parke admitted that it was something on his mind.
“It was difficult to swallow,” Parke said of Rosales’ injury. “You don’t want to go out there and hurt guys on the other team. But you maybe want to get stuck in and make the game hard for them. If that gives us a little more incentive, so be it.
“I don’t think guys are really thinking about beating the [stuffing] out of them because they did it to Mauro last year. But maybe it’s some bulletin-board material that you can use to pump yourself up.”
The Rosales twist is just one bit of intrigue in a burgeoning rivalry between teams that faced off in the 2009 US Open Cup final and always seem to bring the heat in games against each other.
But after winning their first two games of the season, the Sounders are now simply looking to bounce back after their first loss, a 1-0 defeat to San Jose last weekend. To do so, they’ll need to rediscover the road form that saw them post a league-best 32 points away from CenturyLink Field a season ago.
United’s young season has been almost inverse. They opened with a pair of losses, but are coming off a 4-1 win against FC Dallas and will be looking to win consecutive games for the first time since June 2009.
“It is difficult because you know they are good, but you don’t know what team you’re going to get,” Parke said. “You prepare for the best team, though, and go out there and assume they are in their top form.”
Jeremiah Oshan covers the Seattle Sounders for MLSsoccer.com and SB Nation.