Amidst the heat and terrible weather conditions, the Sounders continued their preparations for the big derby match versus the Portland Timbers on Sunday. The health of the team, in light of the continuing poor air conditions, continues to be a point of discussion.
Christian Roldan said the team is suffering some effects from the air conditions, but that it is nothing they can’t deal with. Turning to Portland, he noted that though the Timbers are struggling, they can turn things around with a win over the Sounders. He said that given the stakes, the game could get chippy, and it’s important that the Sounders keep their wits about them to keep all of the players on the field.
Watching practice, it was interesting to see the Sounders working with various formations and players. Coach Brian Schmetzer has previously said that he thinks that there needs to be other options for them to utilize in a game, and it looks as if they’re working on making that happen.
Clint Dempsey was absent once again as he continues to deal with his back issue. Safe to say he is unlikely to feature this weekend. That’s obviously a disappointment, given his propensity for dramatic goals versus the Timbers. Brad Smith continues to work his way back from his injury, but with both Nouhou and Waylon Francis healthy, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see the Sounders work him back a bit more slowly. Beyond that, the team appears to be pretty healthy aside from the long-term injury of Jordan Morris.