Coach Sigi Schmid has yet to decide on a regular starting 11.
He said he expects to make some more player tweaks for the match against the Colorado Rapids on Friday.
“How its going to look this weekend? Who is going to play?,” Schmid asked rhetorically. “Right now I couldnt tell you. I havent really made up my mind. Is there a possibility that there will be some changes in every part of the field? Yes, very possible.
Marksman Fredy Montero is back. He put in a strong 30-minutes against Philadelphia and helped to engineer and assist on the equalizing goal. The combination of Montero and Mauro Rosales looked strong in the first time the two South Americans have played together in a competitive match.
“Hes a great player, really smart and intelligent player,” Montero said, on Rosales. “As a team, we really need to take advantage of what he can do to give us an advantage.”
Both seem to excel in the withdrawn forward role of Schmid’s multi-flexible and multi-dimensional 4-4-2, despite concerns that the two play similar roles, have some similar characteristics. This formation, it appears, can morph in a nano second to a 3-4-3 or 3-5-2 or any combination of the number 10 that you can imagine.
Somehow, the two seemed to find a connection and carved out complementing roles for themselves, as they helped to inspire Seattle’s second-half comeback.
That could put traditional forwards O’Brian White and Nate Jaqua on the bench. It seems White may be rested as part of managing the young Jamaican’s time and expectations. Jaqua has yet to find his form, though his effort is strong. So, if you want to play the two best forwards on the pitch at the same time, at this moment, it’s likely Montero and Rosales.
Schmid alludes to possibly resting players, or going with those who have the hot foot, so to speak.
“You got to look at whos playing well, and obviously if you have enough depth and enough players are playing well, you could even rest some people along the way,” Schmid said.”Because it does get (to be) a strain playing the amount of games you have to play, so you can keep the troops sharp and energetic.”
Finding the right midfield combination among six very qualified contenders has been an endless source of drama and interest. The lastest chapter now has Alvaro Fernandez literally rising to the challenge of being benched — he headed in the tying goal against the Union in stoppage time. At Tuesday’s training, Fernandez was crackling in the 5 v 5 scrimmages, saying later his conversation with Schmid last week was helpful.
“We talked about working my hardest and giving my best and I think you saw I could do that,” Fernandez said, through an interpreter. “Im working hard on being more aggressive, thats what I was missing.
“Playing a little bit more tough on defense, thats one of the things we talked about, and I try to focus on that a little more,” he said.
Watch for some potential changes in the endless game of midfield musical chairs. Will Fernandez find one of those starting chairs at the expense of Brad Evans or Erik Friberg? Neither of those two had a particularly strong match last week — particularly Friberg — who seemed out of synch.
If Schmid opts for a traditional forward, either White or Jaqua, where does Rosales go? He has to be on the pitch. Does he bump someone else off.
Fernandez is clearly primed to play a bigger role this Friday, should Schmid call on him. Sitting on the bench is no fun.
“Ive never had a problem with Sigi, Ive never had a problem with the coaches,” Fernandez said. “That doesnt mean I agree with the decisions that were made but thats their job to see things from the outside. ”
Montero, who assisted on the Fernandez’s goal, hopes the Uruguayan can maintain his quality. “I think he was really happy about that goal that he scored,” Montero said. “He demonstrated the caliber of player that he is, and I hope he can maintain that.”
For Schmid, the challenge is finding that magic combination to unlock the potential that most agree really exists on this team. It may or may not happen against Colorado this Friday but it’s coming. Schmid now has a full and healthy squad–and guys hungry to play.
For us, our main concern is just to worry about us and continue to play good soccer, play better soccer,” Schmid said. “I think we have shown in the past our capabilities of being able to play all the top teams on a pretty equal footing and thats something we want to do. We were a little bit disappointed in our game in Philadelphia.
“We are very pleased that we came back and got the point, got the equalizer because it showed a good attitude at the end of the game,” Schmid said. “But we are also displeased because we think we can play better than that.”