TUKWILA, Wash. – The health of key contributors continues to be a storyline at Seattle Sounders training. Brad Evans (above), who has missed the past two games with a calf strain, was back in full training on Monday, but the status of several others was not quite as encouraging.
“I think Evans should be ready to go,” Sounders manager Sigi Schmid said. “Leo [González], it’s still a day-to-day thing with him. [Patrick] Ianni’s still out at this juncture. Michael Gspurning did a little bit of work today, felt good. So he’s now starting to ramp up, and he feels good about it.”
As much as Gspurning may be progressing, though, Schmid indicated that Bryan Meredith was still the likely choice to be in goal when the Sounders play the Columbus Crew on Wednesday (10 pm ET, watch LIVE online).
If Gonzalez and Ianni are unable to play, that would almost certainly mean another start for Marc Burch at left back - his fifth straight - and a center back pairing of Jeff Parke and Jhon Kennedy Hurtado for a fourth straight game.
Assuming Adam Johansson starts at right back, it would mean the Sounders are using the same four players on defense for a season-high third straight contest.
Álvaro Fernández, who started for the first time in six matches on Saturday, didn’t suffer any setbacks and should be good to go.
“I feel good,” Fernández said through an interpreter. “Every day, I feel a little bit better. I feel good in practice. It was a lot of recuperation, but I’m feeling very good now.”
Johnson impressed by Montero
The Eddie Johnson-Fredy Montero forward pairing is quickly turning into a potent one. The duo has now combined for seven goals and three assists in the past six contests, including both goals in Saturday’s draw at Vancouver.
As they heat up, it’s also turning into a bit of a mutual-admiration society.
Said Johnson of Montero’s Goal of the Week-nominated equalizer against the Whitecaps: “I know I got the flick, but was all him after that. He showed composure. He showed what he can do in front of the goal.
“We’re very fortunate to have him, and hopefully we can keep the scoring ratio he has right now. And myself being a striker, I want to be out there scoring goals with him.”
As Montero has found his scoring boots, his assists numbers have gone up, too. He picked up his second on Saturday when he helped set up Johnson’s header.
“I got the opportunity to play with really good players,” Montero said. “If I have to score goals, I’m happy to do that. But sometimes I got to assist my teammates, and that’s really good for me, too.”
Jeremiah Oshan covers the Seattle Sounders for MLSsoccer.com and SB Nation.