Here are a few notes from Tuesday’s practice as the Sounders returned to home ahead of Saturday’s home game against the Philadelphia Union:
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— First off, while there is no doubting Clint Dempsey‘s standing with the U.S. national team, another producing Sounders FC star apparently isn’t garnering much interest from his national team. Coach Sigi Schmid said as of Tuesday he hasn’t heard from the Nigerian federation regarding a future call-up of forward Obafemi Martins, who has three goals and four assists: “Oba and I talked about it the other day, and there really hasn’t been any contact. I’m sure their coach has his ideas … but as of yet, there’s been no talk on Oba.”
— Schmid said Brad Evans (calf) is doing well after a substitute appearance in Saturday’s win and then 45 minutes at right back in Sunday’s reserve game. “Those were helpful to him, and (he) got through training today, so it could be a good week for him,” the coach added. “Expect to see him this weekend.”
— And was the decision to play him at right back meant to benefit the Sounders or the U.S. national team? “It worked out well for both, put it that way,” Schmid said. “Obviously with Damion Lowe being injured right now, we’re short one defender in the back as it is. (Michael) Azira has been dropping back there and playing there in games. This time it was a chance for Brad to play there. We’ve had to play (Aaron) Kovar at left back with Leo (Gonzalez) being out, as well. So different people have to jump in there. It was really a situation of our need, and we said, ‘Hey, this works out well for him, too.'”
— Gonzalez, in his recovery from a hamstring injury, trained off to the side today and did some running. The plan is for him to rejoin the team for warmups Thursday. Indications after talking to Schmid were that a return this week doesn’t seem likely.
— Asked about the team’s depth, which appears to having plenty more starters than available for positions, Schmid said: “Ideally, you always want to have more starters than you have spots, and for us it’s a unique situation because there’s a chance of us on May 14 losing one, two, three players (to the U.S. national team for World Cup training camp). If you lose three players, that’s three starters austensibly, and you have to be able to replace them, so you need to have more than 11 starters. I’m happy with the depth of our team. Right now, it’s just a matter of keeping everyone sharp and everyone in a rhythm.”
— The Sounders’ upcoming move to business independence from the Seahawks was the subject of our story for Wednesday’s paper. Schmid was asked if he thinks the transition will affect the team. “No, not really,” he said. “From the team side of things, things remain the same. (We’re) just trying to work out all the stuff with the computers and e-mails and all that kind of stuff, but nothing that really affects the guys or the players on the team. I think everybody’s excited. Some guys haven’t seen the new offices, some guys have. Just seeing how that all works.”
— And does he think the split is a good move? “I have to trust what the people higher up than me say, and everybody’s saying this is a positive thing,” Schmid said. “I mean it’s a part of, I think, our evolution and our growth as a club. Hopefully we can take advantage of it and use it and we continue to grow and establish our identity. I think the Seahawks are a tremendous organization, and having been a part of them has been fantastic, and I’m sure there’s still going to be cooperation between the two organizations because it was always a good situation. But for us right now, this is also a positive growth situation, establishing ourselves. I think we’ve got our clientele, our base, as well, and hopefully that will get reflected by what we see in the Seattle Times and Tacoma (News Tribune).”
— Lastly, Schmid noted that if the Sounders want to use the indoor field at the VMAC, the two sides would still be able to work something out.