SEATTLE – Eddie Johnson’s addition to the US national team's Gold Cup squad comes at a particularly inopportune for the Seattle Sounders.
Even after winning Osvaldo Alonso’s red-card appeal, the Sounders will be without as many as five regular starters for their game against the Colorado Rapids on Saturday (4 pm ET, watch on MLS Live). Michael Gspurning (forearm) and Shalrie Joseph (calf) have already been ruled out, and head coach Schmid didn’t sound particularly optimistic about Djimi Traoré (hamstring) or Brad Evans (ribs) being able to play extended roles.
“I feel sad for the fans because we haven’t really been able to put the group together for a sustained period of time to see how they respond and gel together,” Schmid said on Thursday. “The thing I’ll promise the fans is we’re going come out and roll up our sleeves and we’re going to fight and battle like mad on Saturday because they deserve it and our team deserves it.
“It’s the most difficult position our team has been in injury-wise and with people coming in and out with call-ups. But it is what it is and we have to figure out a way to be successful even with the obstacles."
These kinds of issues have been commonplace this season. The Sounders have had five different players miss at least one match due to international duty and at least one potential starter has been out with injury for nearly every game, leading them to use different starting lineups in all 17 of their games.
Johnson’s absence all but guarantees Seattle will need to use an 18th different lineup this week. Locked in a tight playoff race, they are well aware that no one is interested in excuses.
“Just stay focused,” said forward Obafemi Martins, who is apparently recovered from an injury that kept him out last week. “We know that a lot of players are injured and we don’t have any choice other than to continue to train and focus on the game.”