The necessity of filling out 19 lineup cards so far in this injury-heavy Major League Soccer season has forced Seattle Sounders FC coach Sigi Schmid into some inventive lineups.
His 19th different combination contributed to Seattle’s 2-1 win over Chivas USA on Sunday, and at least one part of it could stick around awhile: the central midfield pairing of the more defensively oriented Osvaldo Alonso with the more offensively focused Brad Evans.
However, that combo did not leave room for Servando Carrasco, who was on the bench for the first time after 12 consecutive starts.
“The thing with Brad is he will play a little more attacking in that position and close that gap behind the forwards, where Servando’s tendency is to play a little deeper,” Schmid said. “So, Brad gets a goal as a result of that. (Sometimes) we have to encourage Brad to stay a little bit, so we can lock it up a little bit. But that was the reason we made the change because we thought Brad could
give us more things going forward from that position.”
Evans started Seattle’s rally in the 23rd minute, when he took a pass from forward Obafemi Martins and scored from 15 yards.
“It was a good battle of possession, some good passing, and Oba found me slipping through the middle,” Evans said. “First-time shot, and luckily beat (Chivas USA goalkeeper Dan) Kennedy.”
In the 57th minute, the winning goal came from Lamar Neagle, assisted by Mauro Rosales and Martins.
“It shows a lot about our character, fighting back from 1-0 down, and the goals were going to come,” Evans said. “It was just a matter of time. We were playing at home. We have a lot of pride playing in front of our fans. It’s about time we got a victory in front of them.”
With Evans and Alonso inside, Schmid once again used Rosales and defender/midfielder Marc Burch as his outside mids.
Schmid indicated that he likes the combination enough that it could return when FC Dallas visits CenturyLink Field on Saturday night, and perhaps well beyond.
“We had to push him (Evans) wide thinking that Shalrie (Joseph) was going to get more minutes there,” Schmid said. “With (Joseph’s calf) injury taking as long as it is, we need Brad in the middle because Brad and Ozzie’s combination, they have got a lot of games together, so there’s an understanding there. It’s also their strengths (to) play off of each other a little bit better.”
Rookie defender DeAndre Yedlin on Monday traveled to Kansas City, Kan., to be the Sounders’ lone representative in Wednesday’s MLS All-Star Game.
Don Ruiz: 253-597-8808 firstname.lastname@example.org