By John Boyle
Sounders FC got good news on forward Eddie Johnson following his MRI, or at least as good of news as could be expected after the team’s leading scorer left Sunday’s game with a hamstring injury.
Johnson has what Sounders FC coach Sigi Schmid called a “slight tweak” and while he may not be available for Friday’s playoff opener against Salt Lake, he should be able to play in the second leg of the playoff series.
“It’s a slight tweak,” Schmid said. “It’s not nearly as bad as we initially thought. We wanted to go easy with him today, then we’ll see where he’s at tomorrow. It’s slight, it’s not nearly as bad as we had feared it might be. There’s an outside chance on Friday and for sure the second game shouldn’t be a problem.”
Seattle has numerous options if Johnson doesn’t play Friday. Sammy Ochoa, who came in for Johnson in Sunday’s game, is an option at forward, as is David Estrada, who was a starter early in the season while Johnson was battling injuries, but who missed a good portion of the season with a foot injury. Steve Zakuani, who primarily plays as a left winger, has experience at forward, as does midfielder Mauro Rosales.
“We’ll see,” Schmid said. “We’ll see what we think is best. We’ll take a good look at our past games Ochoa has played… (Estrada) is certainly an option who can play there. Zakuani is somebody who is now back in the mix, he’s played up front before, so I think we’ve got three options. Even Rosales can push up high if we need him to.”
The injury news was even better for defender Jeff Parke, who was also pulled out of Sunday’s game after experiencing tightness in his hamstring.
“Parke was just a precaution,” Schmid said. “He’s fine.”
Parke was brief and emphatic when asked about the injury.
“I’m playing,” he said. “I’m not worried about it. It was just precautionary before.”