SOUNDERS FC — OUT: M Steve Zakuani (sports hernia surgery); M Shalrie Joseph (R MCL sprain); F Will Bates (R knee); GK Josh Ford (R patella fracture). QUESTIONABLE: M Brad Evans (L calf strain); F Obafemi Martins (L ankle sprain); D Dylan Remick (L hamstring strain).
CHICAGO FIRE — OUT: M Brendan King – (L hamstring strain).
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Seattle’s report is unchanged from earlier in the week, and Evans is not expected to be available. Coach Sigi Schmid said players have bumps and bruises from Wednesday’s win over Chivas USA, but no significant injuries otherwise.
“For us, it’s just a matter of looking at our team, looking at our lineup, looking at maybe where we can get some fresh legs out there, as well, and how we can balance it off,” Schmid said.
Chicago, obviously, has a much cleaner report and has had more rest, since it’s not coming off a midweek game.
A lot of attention will be on Martins, who has missed four games with the ankle sprain. He has seemed close to a return the past few weeks but hasn’t been quite able to come back.
The DP forward is receiving medication to aid his return and he was able to practice a bit Thursday before being held out of drills as a precaution. Martins did more work Friday and will go into Saturday as a game-time decision, Schmid said.
The coach was asked how the team uses technology to determine when a player is healthy balanced with how much it depends on how the player feels.
“Nothing is absolute,” Schmid said. “Even when you do an MRI, sometimes things don’t show up on the MRI that are there. I remember a player once complaining. They did all kinds of tests and found nothing, found nothing, found nothing. Finally they just decided, ‘Let’s go in,’ and there was an irritation on the back of his kneecap. Luckily he was the kind of player… I remember he had cartilage surgery and he was back playing 10 days later. He was that type of guy. So you never know. I’ve had other players who complain, complain, complain and they can’t play, they can’t play. I remember a guy ready to go into surgery the next day, and he says, ‘You know what? It feels better today. Can we push it off a day?’ They pushed it off, he played by the weekend and never had surgery. You don’t know. The short answer is you still have to rely on what the player feels, and technology helps you identify it, but it’s not absolute.”
So how has the team kept from getting frustrated? Martins, too?
“There’s nothing you can do,” Schmid said. “You have to control what you can control. I think a player has enough pride. They want to get on the field. He wants to get on the field. He wants to play. If I felt he didn’t want to play, then I’d be frustrated. But he wants to play. He’s frustrated because he’s hurt and he can’t get on the field, so I’m OK with that. We’ve just got to, when he’s healthy and he’s able to go, get him on the field, and if he can’t, then somebody else has to go out there and step up.”