Reporters met with Sounders FC coach Sigi Schmid one last time Saturday before the team heads down to Portland. Here are a few notes:
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— Schmid was asked once again if he’s made a decision on a starting goalkeeper. “We’re still looking at that,” he said. “We’re still deciding.”
— Asked if Portland would get any strategic advantage by knowing, Schmid said, “It’s just an internal choice for us in terms of what we think is best for us in this particular game.”
— In some other injury updates, Obafemi Martins (groin) has been deemed day to day. Leo Gonzalez (hip/groin) has been able to practice this week, which is a good sign. Schmid said both would be game-time decisions.
— Clint Dempsey (hamstring) was also mentioned in Schmid’s injury update. The coach said the DP got through practice OK, and it sounds like his role will also be determined Sunday. I’m guessing that’s between being a starter or reserve, while the decisions on Martins and Gonzalez seemed more about availability. That’s how I read it, at least.
— The Sounders’ recent defensive struggles have coincided, in part, with Gonzalez’ absence, and Schmid was asked how important the veteran left-back is to the team. “I think Leo is an important part to our team and defensively he’s what I call a competitor,” the coach said. “It’s difficult to play against Leo. He’s very resourceful in how he defends. He’s faster than you think he is, so he deals well with guys with speed, because somehow he always seems to find just enough speed to be able to hold him at bay. And I think his passing this year has been improved coming out of the back, so he’s an important part to our team.”
— In a potentially concerning update, Shalrie Joseph‘s calf issue, something that has bothered him all year, has come back, according to Schmid. The midfielder apparently hasn’t even made that much progress this past week, and it seems hard to imagine him having an impact the rest of the season.
— Lastly, it certainly seems like a fast start is even more of a priority for the Sounders on Sunday. “We just have to do better in the first 15 minutes of the game,” Schmid said. “I don’t think that’s a big secret. I think anybody who’s watched us over the last couple games understands that, so we have to do better.”