TUKWILA, Wash. – It may be several more weeks before the Seattle Sounders are anything close to full strength, but signs are looking positive that they’ll at least have a couple more key bodies back for Saturday’s match against the Chicago Fire (8:30 pm ET, watch LIVE online).
Starting right-sided players Mauro Rosales and Adam Johansson both played in this past Saturday’s training game against the University of Washington and neither reported any setbacks after Tuesday’s session. The outlook for Álvaro Fernández, who missed the Sounders’ most recent MLS game, was not quite as good.
“Flaco still has a little bit of an issue when he runs at high speeds, so he’s probably a little bit further away,” head coach Sigi Schmid said of Fernández, who has yet to return to full training and has been reduced to doing work on the side. “We’ll take it slower with him and we’ll see on Saturday.”
The chances of having at least Rosales back seem much better. He was able to play all 60 minutes of the training game and has been going at full speed for at least a week.
“I feel good,” Rosales said on Saturday. “It was an intense 60 minutes. My knee is still recovering, but it was a good step to try against the other guys. They made me make some extra effort than when I’m training. That’s okay.”
Schmid said the plan for both Rosales and Johansson was let them play for 30 minutes and then see how they felt. Although Johansson opted to come out at halftime, he continued to train on the side.
“It felt good but I’m building it up,” Johansson said. “This was a great training for me.”
The desire to get back on the field is especially strong in Johansson, as he’s well aware of the fact that he’s only been able to play one league game for his team. When asked if there are positives in being able to see the game from a different vantage point, he was especially blunt.
“No, it’s better to play,” he said.
Jeremiah Oshan covers the Seattle Sounders for MLSsoccer.com and SB Nation.