Sounders expect boost from Johnson’s return

  • By Don Ruiz The News Tribune
  • Saturday, November 3, 2012 10:43pm
  • SportsSports

Sounders FC and Real Salt Lake have met four times this season, and over those 360 minutes they are separated by a single goal: RSL 1, Seattle 0.

Nothing at all separated the teams Friday, when they opened their home-and-away, aggregate-score series with a scoreless draw at CenturyLink Field.

As the Sounders returned to training for the Thursday match that will mark the end of the season for the losing club, coach Sigi Schmid said he expects more of the same.

“I think these two teams are very close,” he said Saturday. “I think Salt Lake has been a good team, I think we’ve been a good team. … It will be a close game. It might be a series that gets decided by one goal at the end of the day.”

Schmid said he re-watched the opening game until 2 a.m. Saturday, and that he spotted a few areas where his team could improve. He added that Salt Lake could make changes too, perhaps attacking more aggressively while playing the decisive game on its home pitch.

The primary difference could be the return of Sounders leading scorer Eddie Johnson, who missed the first game with an adductor strain. Johnson went through light training Saturday and is on pace to return to a full workload when the Sounders return to practice Monday.

His return could not only add the offensive firepower that notched a club-record 14 goals during the regular season, but it also could open space on the flanks and buy more room for fellow forward Fredy Montero.

“Eddie has certain physical qualities that he brings to the games,” Schmid said. “The wide players get a lot of space; there are opportunities to cross the ball. Eddie’s good in the air, so he adds that quality. … Their defense has to be a little more respectful, maybe can’t play as high a line, so that gives us more room to operate at midfield, and makes their midfield cover a little more space. … When Fredy and Eddie are on the field together it helps them both because you can’t key on one or the other.”

Added time

Schmid said midfielder Mauro Rosales, who was subbed out late Friday, is “fine.” He also said defenders Leo Gonzales (hamstring) and Patrick Ianni (calf) are making progress. … If the deciding game is tied at the end of regulation, there will be 30 minutes of added time. If the tie remains, the series will be determined by penalty kicks.

More in Sports

Snohomish’s 1970 boys basketball team headlines Hall class

The team will be among those inducted into the Snohomish County Sports Hall of Fame Wednesday.

Cascade’s Kolomiyets tops Jackson’s Vimawala in tennis showdown

The Bruins’ star beat his Timberwolves counterpart in straight sets in a matchup of the region’s best.

Poll: Help us plan this week’s high school football coverage

This week The Herald covers HS football at Glacier Peak/Monroe, and Jackson/Lake… Continue reading

UW receiver McClatcher likely out for season

Federal Way product broke his ankle during the Huskies’ win over Colorado.

Carroll: Seahawks at forefront of ‘extraordinary’ times

The Seattle coach spoke on what his players believe is their duty as pro athletes with a platform.

Monday’s prep results and links

Here are Monday’s prep results and links: BOYS TENNIS Wesco 4A Kamiak… Continue reading

Granite Falls volleyball building from grassroots level

The Granite Falls volleyball team has won a combined 11 matches over… Continue reading

Multi-sport athletes fueling Mountlake Terrace cross country

Mountlake Terrace cross country coach Todd Weber said he believes both of… Continue reading

Young players stepping up for Glacier Peak tennis

There’s a different air around the Glacier Peak boys tennis team this… Continue reading

Most Read