TUKWILA — The Seattle Sounders are 5-1-2 without designated player Clint Dempsey in the lineup, and 1-1 without Obafemi Martins, two of their offensive stars.
But in two games without central defender Chad Marshall, the club is 0-1-1. In those games, the Sounders allowed an average of 2.5 goals per game, compared to their average of 1.6 when he plays.
Marshall missed his first game of the season in May, sitting out a 2-2 draw at Vancouver due to illness. The second miss came Monday, when he sat out the Los Angeles match due to back spasms after being rear-ended in a collision two days earlier. The Galaxy rolled, winning 3-0.
“It was a huge blow,” veteran Chad Barrett said. “Everybody thought he was going to play. He’s a huge part of how we play, and the commander in our back line.”
Marshall still wasn’t up to full training Thursday, and coach Sigi Schmid indicated the club could be without him again Saturday when they return to MLS play at San Jose.
“It’s gotten better, (but) not significant enough yet,” Schmid said. “It’s one of those things where he could wake up (Friday) morning and feel great. And so he feels better than he has felt, but we’re taking it day by day. If the game was today he couldn’t have played.”
Marshall is a 10-year MLS veteran who was named to the 2014 MLS All-Star team. And while the Sounders admitted that he was missed, they also believe they should have adapted better against the Galaxy.
“You have to make changes and people should be able to fill in,” Barrett said. “For this reason, that and another we were just out of sorts and we just couldn’t figure it out. And it’s not up to the coaches, it’s up to the players on the field to try and figure it out, and we didn’t do that.”
With sometime-starter Djimi Traore also out, the Sounders went with Jalil Anibaba and Zach Scott in central defense. DeAndre Yedlin was at his usual right back spot, but second-year man Dylan Remick started at left back in place of the injured Leo Gonzalez. It was Remick’s first start since May.
“It’s tough when you’ve been out that long and you really haven’t gotten any real game time,” Schmid said. “… Training doesn’t really replicate games. And so that was a big game to get thrown into. He looked a little rusty at times, and just as to when to get tight to people. But as the game went on, I thought he played better.”
Reserve goalkeeper Marcus Hahnemann flew with the Blue Angeles on Wednesday as part of the Seafair celebration. And despite passing out at the end, he described it as one of the great experiences of his life.
“I’ve been dreaming about going with the Blue Angels since I was a little kid,” said Hahnemann, who has a pilot’s license. “… It was awesome. I’ve been in acrobatic planes before, so I’m used to G-force a little bit. He kept pushing and pushing and pushing. We did 7.6-G out over the Olympic Mountains. … We were out for 45 minutes, and we came back and he got me when he threw in the carrier break at the end, and (I was) just completely out. I didn’t think he was going to get me. I just relaxed a little bit — wasn’t clinching my butt tight enough, and there you go.”
In other health news, Schmid indicated that midfielder Lamar Neagle (ankle) is doubtful for San Jose, but that midfielder Brad Evans and Gonzalez are again practicing fully. … The Sounders will train Friday afternoon at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, California, getting a feel for the new stadium which they will help open on Saturday.