TUKWILA, Wash. — The Seattle Sounders may never field a completely full-strength team this season, but they are getting closer.
Although Brad Evans was ruled out for Friday's top-of-the-table clash with Real Salt Lake (10 pm ET, NBCSN), Sounders head coach Sigi Schmid said Obafemi Martins finished a complete week of full training with no problems after coming back from an ankle injury and that returning national team players Clint Dempsey and Eddie Johnson were both in consideration for starting roles.
"They're fine," Schmid said about Dempsey and Johnson after Thursday's training session. "We wanted to go easy on them today. We wanted to make it more of a [light training] day since yesterday was a travel day. Eddie came in and did some stuff yesterday. Clint came in a little later. They're ready to go. We'll still figure out what role they'll play, but they'll play a role."
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Dempsey is coming off a pair of 90-minute performances for the United States and logged another 90 minutes a little less than two weeks ago against the Columbus Crew. In two weeks, he's flown from Columbus to Costa Rica, back to Columbus and finally to Seattle.
"I'll be ready in whatever capacity Sigi wants to play me," Dempsey said. "The travel wears on you, but that's something everyone has to deal with. You just try to do the things you can to make sure you're good to go."
Johnson hasn't logged quite as many minutes – being subbed off in two of the games and coming off the bench in the other – but took a nasty fall in the national team’s 2-0 win Tuesday over Mexico. Doctors examined him and apparently didn't find any signs of a concussion or other serious injury.
"I feel good," said Johnson, who scored what turned out to be the game winner that allowed the United States to secure its spot in Brazil. "Most importantly, it was good to qualify for the World Cup. We can relax now.
"We've kept up with how [the Sounders] have been playing. Looking forward to helping these guys out."
While Dempsey and Johnson may very well be coming off the bench, there's at least a good chance of a preview of what the Sounders could look like when they do have close to a full arsenal of players.
"Everybody's excited to see how it all works and fits together," Schmid said. "Next week will be good because we'll have a chance to train all together and look at a couple different options that I have in my mind. Hopefully we'll come up with an option that works."