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April 3, 2014 at 1:32 PM

Thursday notes: Michael Harrington has red card rescinded, will be eligible for Portland

Here are a few notes from Thursday’s practice:

*     *     *

— First off, MLS has announced that an independent review panel has rescinded the red card to Portland’s Michael Harrington, and the defender will be eligible to play in Saturday’s game against the Sounders. The news came as no surprise to Seattle coach Sigi Schmid, who said before the announcement he expected Harrington to be available.

— Over to the Sounders, it sounds like a calf injury will keep Brad Evans out for a third straight game. “We’re bringing him along slowly,” said Schmid, “so his chances of playing, I think, are very small.”

Osvaldo Alonso was someone who trained off to the side, but Schmid explained:  “Because he put in a lot of mileage in the last game, we wanted to go a little bit easier with him in training. But he’s fine. He’ll be able to go.”

— Defender Leo Gonzalez is coming along well, Schmid said, and getting 90 minutes in Sunday’s reserve game was a big boost to getting the veteran left back in the lineup. We’ll see if that comes in Portland.

— Certainly DeAndre Yedlin playing 19 minutes off the bench for the U.S. on Wednesday shouldn’t affect his availability Saturday, but Schmid was asked about Clint Dempsey, who played 90 minutes against Mexico and absorbed some physical tackles. “We’ll see how he feels, but I expect him to play,” the coach answered.

— Over to the Timbers goalkeepers, Portland starter and reigning MLS Goalkeeper of the Year Donovan Ricketts will be out suspended. He’s a guy Schmid said is “a very effective guy and a big part of their game. When he’s on, he’s as good as anybody in the league.”

— Ricketts’ replacement, of course, is ex-Sounder Andrew Weber. So what will that be like? And is it a possible advantage having that familiarity? “It’s going to be strange seeing him on the other side, but we’ll keep the rest to ourselves,” Schmid said with a smile.

— Schmid had an interesting quote about the Sounders-Timbers rivalry: “The league games are like playoff games, and the playoff games maybe go to another different level, but it’s hard to imagine it going to a level higher.”

— Regarding the Sounders in action in the USA-Mexico friendly, Schmid had praise for both Dempsey (particularly the pass to Eddie Johnson to set up what looked to be the winner before being called back for offside) and Yedlin off the bench. The Dempsey “assist” can still serve as a confidence booster, the coach added, even if disallowed, because the USMNT captain did everything right on the play.

— Asked how the Dempsey partnership with Obafemi Martins is looking, Schmid said: “It’s been good. They’ve looked for each other, and if anything, they’ve maybe looked for each other too much. … They definitely have respect for each other and that the one can get the ball back to the other when he needs it.”

— In the context of David Estrada’s loan, Schmid was asked about the conversations the team has as it relates to possibly sending others out on loan, like Aaron Kovar, Sean Okoli or Fabio Pereira. “It’s important for players to get games and get opportunities to play and get their confidence up,” Schmid said. “We have a number of reserve games and we’ll have one again on Sunday, so we’re trying to keep the guys in that game mode and playing. But obviously playing against a college team is not in the same level as playing against the NASL or the USL (teams), where it matters and it’s for points and it’s important. For those players — Kovar, Okoli and Fabio — we’re going to try at different points to loan out different guys at different times.”

— And would it be easier if the Sounders had a formal USL affiliate or their own team? “Yeah, when you can do it with your own team it makes it a lot easier,” Schmid said. “Just going down the street or going around the corner to someplace to play makes it a lot easier. Teams like the Galaxy right now or some other teams that have working relationships with teams, it’s a little bit easier for them now.”

| More in Practice notes


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