Sounders FC

Red card, injury could leave Sounders shorthanded on defense

Seattle Sounders FC already knows that it needs to find a new starting right fullback this weekend, because James Riley is out with a red-card suspension.

However, the Sounders’ defensive search might double before their Saturday date at FC Dallas, because left back Nate Sturgis was kept out of training Wednesday while nursing a hamstring injury.

After practice, Sturgis did not sound optimistic that his hamstring would be dependably mended by the weekend, and coach Sigi Schmid didn’t sound interested in rushing him back.

“He had a history of the hamstring injury last year,” Schmid said. “We don’t want to put him in a situation where he has to miss the amount of time he missed last year.”

Whether there is one opening or two, one of the logical candidates to step in would be Zach Scott, who started five games before giving way to Sturgis. Scott also came on for Sturgis in the 72nd minute of Seattle’s 1-1 draw with Los Angeles on Sunday.

However, Scott said the coaches haven’t addressed the team about this week’s starting lineup, and that the players will get their first indication in practice today.

“Right now, I’m our second left back if Sturgis is starting, but we don’t know who our second right back is,” Scott said. “I’m sure they’re going to have a lot of thinking to do to determine what our lineup is going to be in the back.”

Schmid already has given the issue some thought.

“We’ve had different guys who have played outside back,” he said. “Obviously, Evan Brown is an option there. Tyson Wahl is an option at left outside back. Patrick Ianni is an option at right back as well. … I think we have some options. We can also bring (Taylor) Graham inside and move Jhon Kennedy (Hurtado) outside. There are different ways to look at it for us. That’s something we’ll use this week to decide.”

Scott has the added advantage of being able to play either side.

“I’m more comfortable on the left; but I am right-footed, so I can go to the right if need be,” he said. “It’s just something that I was thrown into in college (Gonzaga), and it’s been 10 years now that I’ve played on the left. Over those 10 years, I’ve become more comfortable receiving the ball on my left foot and transferring everything with my left. At this point - is ‘ambidextrous’ the same thing with your feet like it is with your hands? - hopefully I’m two-footed in that sense.”

All-star voting

Online voting began Wednesday for the 2009 MLS all-star team. Fans can visit www.mlsnet.com to vote online for one goalkeeper, three defenders, five midfielders and two forwards.

“Obviously, I think we have some guys who are worthy of consideration for the all-star team,” Schmid said. “And at the end of the day, I hope they’ll get rewarded.”

The MLS stars will meet Everton of the English Premier League on July 29 in Sandy, Utah, home of Real Salt Lake. The game will be shown on ESPN2.

Voting concludes July 6. The First XI will be announced July 16, and the rest of the team on July 20.

Added time

Forward Fredy Montero practiced Wednesday after an excused absence to return home to Colombia. Montero is eligible to play Saturday after serving a red-card suspension last week. … Schmid said he has not heard from the league about a possible fine for his criticism of the refereeing in the Los Angeles game. However, he noted that such fines tend to come down on Thursdays.

Tide plays to scoreless draw

Tacoma Tide FC opened its fourth season of Premier Development League soccer with a scoreless draw against the Seattle Wolves on Wednesday at Starfire Sports Stadium in Tukwila.

The Tide controlled the run of play, especially early and late, but couldn’t get the ball into the net.

The Wolves moved to 1-1-1 in what was their home opener.

The Tide visits the Kitsap Pumas at 7:30 p.m. Friday, then plays its home opener against the Cascade Surge of Salem, Ore., at 3 p.m. Sunday at Curtis High School.

don.ruiz@thenewstribune.com

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