Halfway through a stretch of four games over 11 days, Sounders FC coach Sigi Schmid is suddenly giving serious minutes to players once stuck far down his roster.
Several drew long minutes Wednesday in Seattle’s U.S. Open Cup victory at Portland, which lasted through regulation, 30 minutes of extra time, and finally penalty kicks.
Beyond the need to divide this heavy portion of the season among as many bodies as possible, Schmid said the Portland game also provided an opportunity for some of the reserves to make their case for larger roles in what is so far a disappointing 4-7-3 Major League Soccer season.
“I thought Michael Seamon, for his first start, played very well,” Schmid said Friday. “I thought (Nathan) Sturgis had some very good minutes and impact on the game. I was pleased with most everybody. (Miguel) Montaño gave us good up-and-down work on his side; (Sanna) Nyassi, the same.
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“In the back, it was Taylor’s (Graham) first meaningful minutes in a long time, and it was good for him to get back out there. So, overall I was pleased. I was pleased with our collective effort.”
However, Schmid stopped short of saying any of the players had worked their way into the starting lineup Sunday, when the Sounders return to MLS play at Los Angeles. And regardless of performance, he said the 120-minute game made it less likely that anyone who drew a heavy workload in Portland would be fully physically recovered by Sunday.
“Now we have got some guys who, ‘This hurts, that hurts,’ a little bit,” Schmid said. “So, we have got to see how they feel (at training this morning) before we can make the ultimate decisions on the lineups.”
One of the players who went the full distance Wednesday was Sturgis, a fifth-year midfielder who had started only two previous matches and appeared in six of the club’s 14 MLS games.
“I thought I did all right,” he said. “It felt good to play 90 (minutes). I wasn’t really expecting 120, so I was kind of pretty sore after that, but it felt good to play a complete game.
“It’s good that there’s a lot of games, there are a lot of minutes to go around. At the same time, it’s going to be a tough run for everybody.”
TIDE ASSESSES FUTURE
Mike Jennings, owner of the Tacoma Tide of the Premier Development League, is considering the future of his club, including whether to move it elsewhere in Pierce or Thurston counties, or perhaps close it down after this fifth season.
The Tide regularly plays at Curtis High School’s Viking Field in University Place. However, a conflict there caused Jennings to move the July 10 game against Abbotsford to Tumwater Stadium.
“When we had to look elsewhere, it made sense to look at that market just to look at the attendance, see how the reception is for us, and it seemed Blackhills (FC in Olympia) – that youth organization – was eager to have us come down. That’s all it is. That said ... we need to find other revenue sources for next year.
“If that presents itself with sponsors (in Tacoma) – investors, partners, whatever, better gate, any of those kinds of things – then we’d prefer to play here. But that hasn’t happened, and five years is a pretty good shot.”
Jennings said he expects to decide by September.
The Sounders will decide in the next day or two whether Swiss national team forward Blaise Nkufo will make his MLS debut July 15 at D.C. United or take a little longer to refresh after World Cup duty. ... ESPN2 will carry the Sounders-Galaxy game, which is expected to mark the return of USA national team members Landon Donovan and Edson Buddle. The game also will be broadcast on KONG 6/16.