Here are a few notes from Sounders FC coach Sigi Schmid’s meeting with the media after Friday’s practice:
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— Midfielder Osvaldo Alonso (head) appears to be OK to return to action in Saturday’s 1 p.m. home game vs. Chivas USA, according to Schmid. Midfielder Mauro Rosales (quad), however, is a question mark. The captain was limited in Thursday’s training after feeling a slight quad tinge after Sunday’s grueling game in the 100-degree heat in Dallas. “We’re going to be safe rather than aggressive with our approach at this point in the season,” Schmid said regarding Rosales’ availability.
— With Real Salt Lake’s loss in Houston last night, the Sounders can take back sole possession of second place in the West with a win Saturday. Schmid was asked how important he views the No. 2 seed vs. No. 3.
“It’s a huge difference,” he said. “The main thing is you’re looking at certainly your positioning within the playoffs. I still think playing the second game at home is a benefit. Even last year when we lost the series to Salt Lake, if we hadn’t given up that third goal there, having the second game at home obviously showed that it could be a difference, and we could make up a deficit.
“The other thing you have to obviously think about, if you’re in second that means you got the second-highest point total in the West. So if you win the Western Conference in the playoffs that means you’re the highest point-totaled team out of the West, and if your point total is higher than the team in the East — you have a better chance of that being so if you’re second rather than third — than that gives you a home game for MLS Cup. So points are important and trying to get as many points as possible are important.”
— Something else Schmid didn’t mention regarding seeding, but I think it’s worth mentioning, is finishing No. 2 in the West would give the Sounders a better chance at a 2013-14 CCL berth if, for example, San Jose wins Supporters’ Shield and advances to MLS Cup (which would give them two of the top four CCL berths). When there’s overlap, the extra berths go to the team’s with the best record.
— Schmid said he recorded Adam Johansson‘s game with Sweden but hasn’t been able to watch it yet. The coach also admitted to falling asleep while watching a recording of the Houston-RSL game late last night, but woke up just in time for the late PK.
— Schmid said the plans are still for Eidur Gudjohnsen to attend Saturday’s game and then play in Sunday’s reserve game at 11 a.m. vs. Chivas USA at Starfire. I asked the coach how he evaluates a renowned player like Gudjohnsen compared to a regular trialist.
“Obviously with a player of his experience and his caliber it’s less of a evaluation of in terms of, ‘Hey, can he play or can’t he play?’ ” Schmid explained. “It’s a matter of where he’s at fitness-wise, where he’s at health-wise. You’re looking at that as much as anything, and then from there it’s also a situation of, ‘Can it work financially? Does he understand our situation?’ It gives him a chance to look at our team and know where our players are, the strengths and weaknesses that are there.
“He’s a good fit in a number of areas because he obviously speaks English, but he also speaks Spanish from all his years at Barcelona; he and (Fredy Montero) were in a good conversation this morning as they were warming up. That helps ease the transition, as well, within the team. … His experiences are immense, but you’ve got to know if it works out financially, and you’ve got to know if it works out for him with what his goals are and what he wants to achieve, as well.”
— Schmid said the midseason addition of Shalrie Joseph, a physical presence in midfield, will help Chivas USA regarding the loss of Oswaldo Minda to international duty. Schmid said he expects Jorge Villafana to replace another player on international duty, Ante Jazic, at left back. The tradeoff for Chivas, Schmid said, is youth and energy in place of experience.
— Lastly, and with the admission that he sounds like a paranoid coach, Schmid said Chivas USA is still a dangerous team. The visitors still have faint hope for the playoffs, especially with games in hand, but they know they have to win and have to score. Schmid said the key will be defending all those bodies in the attack as Chivas cheats a few extra players forward, and then also burying chances when they get them on the other end.