Sounders FC gets back to work after bye week
The Sounders hope a bye week won't stunt the momentum from what was a long-awaited first win of the MLS season.
Seattle Times staff reporter
Sounders FC @ Philadelphia, 1 p.m., KONG
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TUKWILA — The weight had finally been lifted. The Sounders finally won their first MLS game of the season.
But then came a break — perhaps an unwanted one — a bye last week.
"We'd have probably rather played," said coach Sigi Schmid. "A lot of times when you win, you want to play again. ... Hopefully it will just delay our momentum by a week, not slow it down."
The games will be coming quickly enough for Seattle, which remains last in the Western Conference and on a franchise-worst start at 1-3-2. A stretch of three games in eight days kicks off Saturday at Philadelphia.
The Sounders haven't won back-to-back MLS games since August, and it has been almost a calendar year since they have won two in a row on the road.
Midfielder Brad Evans called the upcoming schedule "tough, but it's a good opportunity to get points. We're still right there on the bottom, so we have a lot of work to do."
One benefit of the bye week was a chance to get healthy, but so far those results have been mixed.
First, the bad news, where midfielder Steve Zakuani was limited in training Tuesday with a groin injury, and defenders Djimi Traore and Marc Burch haven't been practicing for the past few days. Each is uncertain for Saturday against the Union.
Forward Obafemi Martins is another who has been given a lighter training regimen as he manages a knee injury he was able to play through in the team's last game, a victory at Colorado.
The good news is Eddie Johnson is back from a hamstring injury. The forward, who has missed the past two games, is the only player on the team with multiple goals this season when including the CONCACAF Champions League.
"I had an extra week to do some strengthening on my hamstring, and I feel good," said Johnson, who aggravated the injury playing hurt in the CCL semifinals. "I feel confident. From a mental standpoint, it's behind me and I know I'm OK, so I'm looking forward to getting back out there in the game."
Yedlin back from U-20 camp
Defender DeAndre Yedlin returned to practice Monday after participating in a training camp with the U.S. under-20 national team last week.
The 19-year-old Seattle native was a part of the youth national-team picture in 2011, after his freshman season at Akron, but had fallen out of favor. The return was a welcome one as the U.S. made roster evaluations toward this summer's FIFA U-20 World Cup in Turkey.
"It's hard work to get back into it, especially after you don't have a very good camp and the coach is kind of skeptical of you," Yedlin said. "So to get back into it was great for me. Hopefully I can carry that into the World Cup."
Sounders U-18 academy forward Jordan Morris, a Mercer Island native, might have been the surprise of the camp with four assists in his first international action.
• Zakuani missed Monday's practice to undergo a blood test and returned Tuesday. Schmid said hadn't meant to "alarm the world" when he revealed the reason for the midfielder's absence earlier in the week. "It wasn't anything major," the coach added.
• Schmid indicated the Sounders would have interest in midfielder Robbie Rogers, a U.S. international who announced in February that he is gay and would step away from the game. Rogers began training with the Los Angeles Galaxy on Monday, and his rights within the league are held by Chicago.
Joshua Mayers: 206-464-3184 or email@example.com.
On Twitter @joshuamayers