The question posed in the headline is one I’ve received a few times in the past few days, so what better way to address it than with an explanation from Sigi Schmid? The Sounders FC coach was asked as much after Wednesday’s practice.
Eddie Johnson, from my perspective, practiced in full and looked ready for a return to action Saturday against Chivas USA.
“For Eddie, when you look at it, he hasn’t really played a full season in a long time,” Schmid said. “We felt that there was a little bit of an adductor strain that wasn’t all that serious, but we figured now was a good time to sort of rest him, let him regenerate. He worked hard with (fitness coach Dave Tenney) last week to continue to build that base. But it’s more because of the fact that this is his first full season back and I think he’s going to be a vital, critical piece for us as we go into the playoffs and we go into the final stretch. So we figured now is a good time and we felt we weren’t going to get a week in there.”
Schmid noted that the Sounders really don’t have opportunities to give players extended breaks during the season. He compared the situation to Vancouver, which gets this weekend off from MLS play.
“We didn’t have the luxury like Vancouver has. … With Eddie, we felt this was a good time to throw a week in,” Schmid said. “When we go to Portland and go to Honduras and came back against San Jose, we’re going to need him in that three-game stretch. This was the only window that we felt we had.”
Here are some other notes:
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— Midfielder Osvaldo Alonso, who left Sunday’s game with a head injury, was scheduled to follow concussion protocol after Wednesday’s practice. Schmid expected Alonso, who needed six stitches to repair the head wound, would be cleared. The midfielder was a very light session off the side while the rest of the team trained.
— Andy Rose (cracked rib) appeared to train in full and Schmid said the midfielder is still feeling pain but getting better every day. David Estrada (broken foot) warmed up with the team and participated in early drills, but worked off to the side at the end. “We’ll push him a little bit further tomorrow,” Schmid said.
— Schmid made note of the Sounders getting goals from different areas, the subject of a blog post from earlier in the week. “That just makes our offense more dangerous,” the coach said.
— Lastly, Schmid said he thinks there aren’t many left back in MLS playing better than Leo Gonzalez right now. The Costa Rican is playing more consistently, according to the coach, and has cut down his turnovers with the ball to go along with always steady defensive play.