Even after taking a week off, the Seattle Sounders attack will likely be somewhere short of full health.
Obafemi Martins and Steve Zakuani were among the players that were limited in training all week, and indications are that they won’t be able to start on Saturday against the Philadelphia Union (4 pm ET, watch on MLS Live). On the plus side, Eddie Johnson participated fully all week and seems to be in line to get his first start since a hamstring injury forced him to be pulled after 78 minutes in the March 30 match against Real Salt Lake.
“We’ve got Eddie, having him back on the field is a plus for us,” Sounders head coach Sigi Schmid told the team’s website following Friday’s training session in Philadelphia. “Hopefully Oba will be back soon as well. We have some decisions, we have some choices and we’ll come up with some formations.”
While the team wasn’t able to get quite as healthy as hoped, Johnson said the time off was imperative for him.
“I feel good, I feel confident,” Johnson told reporters earlier this week. “From a mental standpoint, it’s behind me and I know I’m OK. I look forward to getting back out there with the team.”
Injuries have limited Johnson to playing in just five of the Sounders’ 10 matches across all competitions. He was in line to play in Seattle's most recent game against the Colorado Rapids, but ruled himself out just before the team left for the road trip. That decision was heavily influenced by the last time he tried to play hurt and ended up re-injuring himself.
“Sometimes as players, we can be selfish and get out there and not be 100 percent,” he said. “It takes away the chances for the other guys on the team. I thought it was better if I wasn’t out there, knowing I couldn’t give 100 percent.
“It’s better for other people to get out there and show their worth. [Lamar] Neagle has been doing a good job. For me, it’s like the situation last year. Nothing is guaranteed here. We all gotta work and earn our spots and I’m ready to start earning my spot.”