Sounders' packed May an opportunity to gain plenty of ground
Five MLS games in May, starting Saturday in Philadelphia, gives Seattle ample opportunity to climb out of last place.
Seattle Times staff reporter
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1 p.m., KONG
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TUKWILA — If March was the month of the miserable start for Sounders FC (0-3-1), and April was when the course settled ever so slightly (1-0-1), then May is the time to get a surprisingly disappointing season back on track.
Five MLS games this month, starting Saturday in Philadelphia at 1 p.m., give the Sounders ample opportunity to climb out of last place and closer to a playoff position.
Seattle won't have this much league action within a month until August.
"We've got to keep pushing each other week-in and week-out and get back on the table where we belong," said forward Eddie Johnson.
The Sounders have played fewer games than every other MLS team due to participation in the CONCACAF Champions League, but they'll soon start to make them up.
There are a couple nonleague games on the May schedule, too.
Seattle hosts Orlando City of the third-tier USL PRO in a Reserve League game on May 12 and will also enter U.S. Open Cup play on May 28 with the rest of the American MLS teams.
A busy schedule will accentuate what has been a seasonlong issue: injuries and depth.
The other pressing matter — and very much related to the injury woes up front — is goal-scoring. The Sounders have an MLS-low three goals in their six games, half the production of Union forward Jack McInerney, the league's co-leading scorer and reigning Player of the Month.
Coach Sigi Schmid said the team's defense, which hasn't allowed a goal in 235 minutes, has done OK considering it hasn't had much help. Seattle has scored the first goal in just two of 10 games this season when including CCL.
"That's been our problem right now," Schmid said. "We've made it hard on our defense at times because we haven't scored goals when we could've gone up in the game and put the game away."
As the games and injuries pile up, a lot of focus will be on how Schmid manages the lineup. He said it will take constant evaluation of the handful of players at various stages of recovery.
And getting the Sounders to their full strength, according to the coach, will require four or five games together from the starters.
"Then you'll see the true potential of the team come about," Schmid said, "and it's certainly getting there."
• Reserve goalkeeper Josh Ford was placed on the disabled list with a fracture of his right kneecap. The 25-year-old, who suffered the injury in a scrimmage last week, is required to miss the next six games and won't be eligible until June 8 against Vancouver.
• Listed as questionable for Saturday are forward Obafemi Martins (knee), midfielder Steve Zakuani (groin), defender Patrick Ianni (foot), midfielder Shalrie Joseph (hamstring) and defender Marc Burch (groin). Schmid indicated earlier this week that Martins might not be ready to face Philadelphia.
• The Sounders won't return home after playing the Union; they will head straight to Kansas City for Wednesday's game at Sporting Park. So how does Brad Evans prepare for a weeklong road trip? "Just have to remember to download good videos on the iPad," the midfielder said.