After playing nine games in less than six weeks, Seattle Sounders FC has reached a break in its schedule.
The club doesn’t play again until June 16, so coach Sigi Schmid is giving the players a break until Monday.
“(Four days off will let) everybody get a little bit of a rest physically, but also mentally,” Schmid said. “… You just have to get away … recharge (your) batteries a little bit. Right after we come back from this break we go into something like seven games in 22 days or some ridiculous thing.”
The first of those will come a week from Saturday in Montreal, the Sounders’ first MLS match since May 26.
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Then the pace quickens with league games June 20 and June 24, followed by a U.S. Open Cup match June 26.
Schmid hopes that quarterfinal match at San Jose can be moved a day later.
“I just think in a general rule, no team should have to play two games in three days,” Schmid said. “But that’s just for anybody. And so if we were on the other end of the stick, I would hope our front office would say, ‘Hey, we’ll accommodate that’ as well. But for the athletes and the assets – which are the players – it puts a tremendous strain on them.”
The Open Cup semifinals are scheduled for July 10, and the final for Aug. 7 or 8. Before the final is played, Seattle will begin yet another competition: 2012-13 CONCACAF Champions League.
The draw for that tournament’s group stage was held Tuesday. Seattle landed in Group 4 with Marathon of Honduras and the Caribbean champion (yet to be determined). Those clubs will play a round-robin of home-and-away matches with the group winner moving on to the knockout stage.
“It’s a little more pressure, I think, in the tournament because you’ve got to finish first; it’s not first or second (in four-team groups),” Schmid said. “And there’s less games so the points are more important for sure. … And travel for us is always the biggest component. We’re coming from as far northwest – with the exception of Alaska – as you can come from the United States.”
Schmid expects a healthier club by the time play resumes at Montreal.
He said defenders Patrick Ianni and Leo Gonzalez could be available, along with forward Eddie Johnson and midfielder Mauro Rosales.
Schmid seemed less confident about goalkeeper Michael Gspurning (hip), although he received encouraging news in a recent checkup.
“He pushed too hard the one day and suffered a little bit of a setback,” Schmid said. “But there’s nothing serious in there – there’s no surgery or anything like that that’s needed.”
Schmid said he has spoken with midfielder Steve Zakuani about playing in the Open Cup.
“That’s a conversation that will stay between us: We talked about what we’re shooting for,” Schmid said. “But he’s made good progress. Playing that (MLS Reserve League game last week) really helped his confidence. ”