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April 24, 2014 at 3:13 PM

Thursday notes: Leo Gonzalez in doubt for Saturday with hamstring injury

Here are some notes from Sounders FC practice Thursday as the team prepared for Saturday’s 1 p.m. home game against the Colorado Rapids:

*     *     *

— First off, an injury update. Leo Gonzalez has picked up a hamstring injury and wasn’t able to practice, putting his availability for Saturday very much in question. “This weekend is up in the air still,” coach Sigi Schmid said of the defender’s status. “He’s gotten a lot better, so we wanted him just to go into the gym today and see how he is. We’ll have to see. It’s touch and go for Saturday.”

— There is, at least, some comfort in knowing backup Dylan Remick has some experience, having started the first four games of the season. Said Schmid: “Dylan has played well and showed he was ready to play there at the beginning of the year.”

— Last year, the Sounders had another at left back. That player will be suiting up for the opponent Saturday: Marc Burch. I asked Schmid what ultimately led to the veteran moving on to Colorado through the MLS Re-Entry Draft. “It was purely a matter of that I had confidence in Dylan’s development at the time,” the coach said. “And you have to look at the cap situation. So obviously you’re saying, ‘OK, these are two players for that position. … How much cap does that take up?’ and so forth. For Marc, he’s a veteran of the league and he’s a player who wants to maintain his earning power and what he’s making, so it worked out well for both sides.”

— The Rapids have a solid 2-0-1 road record, though Schmid noted one win (at Vancouver) benefited from a red card and the other win (at Toronto) benefited from a shorthanded opponent. “But their team came together,” he added. “They haven’t been giving up a lot in the back, so I think it’s their defensive play that’s really helped them get their results on the road.”

— Here is a health update on midfielder Brad Evans, who is working back from a calf injury: “Brad’s doing fine,” Schmid said. “He trained through the whole week, so we’ll make a decision again as we go into the game — where he’s at fitness-wise. We want to make sure he’s completely over this, as well, and healthy. We don’t want to push too hard too early and bring it back, but everything he’s done this week he feels good about.”

— As it relates to the Sounders wanting to transfer road success (3-0-1) to home success (1-2), Schmid offered an anecdote from his time with the Crew: “I always remember the words of Guillermo Barros Schelotto, when we met after the second season. He said to the team: ‘You know, if we would’ve won one more game at home, we would’ve made the playoffs. That’s all we needed to do was win one more game at home.’ That always stuck with me. Obviously (the next) year we did and we won the MLS Cup. But winning your home games is important. It’s also important to play well in front of your fans.”

— Asked if last year’s playoff meeting against the Rapids comes back to mind this week, Schmid said: “No. The 5-1 still stings, so we’re still thinking about that one.”

— Here were some of Schmid’s thoughts on if a CONCACAF Champions League berth will remain a reward of winning the U.S. Open Cup: “It’s been part of the prize in the past and I think it still is part of the prize, but you never know,” he said. “I probably have to look at that again. I thought it was maybe going to change next year but this year it was still supposed to be part (of the prize).”

— And lastly, Schmid’s reaction to Mexico’s Cruz Azul claiming the 2013-14 title: “Congratulations to Cruz Azul and hopefully they’ll do very well representing our region at the (Club World Cup).”

| More in Practice notes, Sounders FC


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