TUKWILA, Wash. – Just when it looked like there might be some lineup continuity building, injuries and the international schedule will once again force the Seattle Sounders to test their depth.
There will be at least four changes to the starting lineup when the Seattle take the field for a big Western Conference showdown against Real Salt Lake on Wednesday (10 pm ET, NBCSN, live chat on MLSsoccer.com). This comes after the Sounders’ previous game featured them using the same lineup in consecutive games for just the second time all year.
With 28 different starting lineups used in 31 matches, the Sounders are at least used to this kind of instability.
“I think everybody is ready,” Sounders defender Zach Scott said. “That’s why you play the game, for the opportunity to show coaches you belong on the field.”
Scott is in line to make his first in more than a month, likely replacing Adam Johansson at right back. Johansson missed the last week of training while he was with the Swedish national team.
There will also be new faces at left back and center back, where Leo González and Jhon-Kennedy Hurtado are out while nursing injuries.
The Sounders had been holding out some hope that Eddie Johnson might be available, but it now seems highly unlikely that he’d be able to play after going 90 minutes for the United States in their 3-1 win over Guatemala on Tuesday.
RSL will likely be short-handed as well, though. Although Luis Gil was called back early from duty with the United States’ U-20 team, Will Johnson (Canada) and Álvaro Saborío (Costa Rica) both played 90 minutes with their national teams on Tuesday. The availability of Kyle Beckerman and Nick Rimando is also in question, as they only joined the team late Tuesday after spending the last week in camp with the United States.
“What I’ve found over the years is you just can’t worry about that,” Sounders head coach Sigi Schmid said when asked who was hurt more by international call-ups. “At the end of the day they’re going to submit their lineup sheet and you have to play against those guys, and we have to submit our sheet and those are the guys that are playing.”
Jeremiah Oshan covers the Seattle Sounders for MLSsoccer.com and SB Nation.