Already facing a 2-1 aggregate deficit following Sunday’s first leg at Providence Park, the Sounders will in all likelihood have to play Leg 2 at CenturyLink Field on Thursday (10:30 pm ET | FS1, TSN5, TVAS, FOX Deportes) without a pair of their iron man contributors.
The first is center back Chad Marshall, who exited Sunday’s contest in the first half with a knee injury. Sounders head coach Brian Schmetzer told reporters at Seattle’s Tuesday training session at Starfire Sports Complex that Marshall has undergone surgery for a meniscus injury — a development that will keep the three-time MLS Defender of the Year sidelined.
It’s unsettling news against an explosive Portland side, but with an experienced contingency plan in Panamanian international Roman Torres, Schmetzer said he feels he has the depth to offset the loss.
“Roman came in [on Sunday] and did a good job,” Schmetzer said. “I enjoyed the fact he came on and brought a bit of physicality to the game, in a good way. He won his headers, the first time he knocked over [Jeremy] Ebobisse — there were some good moments there. Certainly [Torres and Kim Kee-hee] haven’t played a lot together so we’ll do what we can to get them in sync.
“But they’re two very, very talented players and Roman was waiting for his chance. Here it is. So he’ll be ready.”
Schmetzer also updated the status of midfielder Cristian Roldan — who exited the first leg with a hip flexor injury — revealing that the fourth-year University of Washington product is “day-to-day” and will be a game-time decision for Thursday’s match.
“We’ll miss [Roldan],” Schmetzer said. “But I think whoever we bring on is going to do a good job. We can’t get around it, we’ll miss Cristian and Chad. But we’ll get guys out there that are going to compete, that are going to play well and we’ll hope for a good result.”
If Roldan is indeed sidelined, winger Harry Shipp is a likely candidate to draw the start in Seattle’s midfield. The 26-year-old was in his best form of the season before going down with a hamstring injury in September and made his first appearance back since that knock in a late substitution cameo on Sunday.
“I was bummed I got hurt,” Shipp said on Tuesday. “I was feeling good playing with guys like Victor [Rodriguez], Nico [Lodeiro], Raul [Ruidiaz] up top — I think, for me, it’s something I was having a lot of fun doing. To be out a couple months, it makes you miss it even more. So, glad to be back. I think we’re set up well to score a few goals and I’m confident with how the result’s going to go.”
As for part two of the series with Portland, Shipp said the Sounders are feeling confident about their chances ahead of Thursday’s second leg, even without two of their most consistent contributors. Seattle did manage to pocket a crucial road goal courtesy of Ruidiaz on Sunday, but conceded to Ebobisse and Sebastian Blanco.
“We’re basically approaching it like we’re down 2-1 at halftime of a game,” Shipp said. “And I think we’ve proven over the last two years, since I’ve been here, that 2-1 at half doesn’t mean a whole lot and we’re going to get those goals when we need them to help us win the game.”