TUKWILA, Wash. – After two days off, the Seattle Sounders returned to practice at Starfire on Wednesday, greeted by the usual intermittent downpours that signal that fall is really here. The cloudy weather made for some slippery, wet conditions as the Sounders prepared for their game against the Vancouver Whitecaps on Saturday.
Not that anyone interfered with the Seattle Sunshine.
“It depends on the last part of the year,” said head coach Brian Schmetzer. “It’s rainy and cold the way we like it. I very much hope that the ‘Seattle Sunshine’ singing will sound with full force and that everyone in the ECS will be there enjoying the rain and enjoying a good performance. “
For midfielder Kelyn Rowe, this is her first fall stretch run with his home team after playing in New England, Kansas City and (briefly) Real Salt Lake for the past nine years. Rowe said he values the experience, rain or shine. “I love the rain, I always have,” said Rowe. “A little smoother, a little more fun. I’m in there like a little kid. I can slide early to make sure it’s really fun, so I enjoy that. “
While Rowe might struggle with characterization, when the Sounders signed him this off-season, it was widely believed that he was meant to be a complementary addition to the roster that provided depth in several key positions. Much more than that, it turned out to be making appearances in every game for the Sounders that season, recording nearly 2,000 minutes in all competitions. Rowe hadn’t played half as much in his last two seasons.
“That’s nice because I’ve played several positions in this league for a while, of course,” said Rowe. “I’m happy that I can make a contribution in every game, whether in the starting XI or on the bench. It’s a pretty cool thing, especially in my hometown, to be able to help the team the way I am, it was great. “
Rowe is likely to see significant minutes this weekend as the Sounders will be understaffed due to injuries and international absences. Alex Roldan, Cristian Roldan, Nouhou, Raúl Ruidíaz and Xavier Arreaga are all out and about with their national teams. Ruidíaz and Arreaga, who were beaten in games last week, are currently in the evaluation of their national teams, according to Schmetzer.
“We’re not really controlling the players right now,” said Schmetzer. “Raúl is a smart guy, he knows what’s at stake. Xavi is a smart guy. They all know their bodies, they should be fine. “
The injury news was much better for Nicolas Benezet, who was in full training on Wednesday with no apparent restrictions. Schmetzer suggested that Benezet’s return could prevent the Sounders from signing an “extreme hardship”, though with no more than 15 outfield players they are eligible to do one.
Shortly behind Benezet is Jordan Morris, whose participation was only slightly restricted and whose first full training is imminent, according to Schmetzer.
“He was not a neutral in our possession [exercises], he’s in full training, ”said Schmetzer. “In the last game I had him as a neutral. When he comes back from this weekend he will be in full training. In my humble opinion he is ready. “
The Sounders are set to start preparing for the aspiring Whitecaps, who beat the San Jose Earthquakes 3-0 thanks to a hat trick from Player of the Week Brian White. The Whitecaps are 6-1-2 over the last nine and have lost only once in their last 15, putting them just outside the playoff line. A win would skip them, a formidable feat for a team that sacked their coach after an embarrassing loss to Pacific FC in the Canadian Championship and started the season with just three wins in their first 18 games.
“You get this newbie bump, even though Marc [Dos Santos] started the little run they had, ”said Schmetzer. “It was a shame, the defeat against Pacific FC, that brought him the dismissal. But Vancouver has been playing well for a while, such a tough team. “
When Nicolas Lodeiro will return to training is not yet known, said Schmetzer. Lodiero had an operation on September 19 because his knee injury got worse again. “There is no schedule for this yet,” said Schmetzer.