Jordan Morris got a birthday present of sorts today, as for the first time since his ACL surgery, he was able to join in some possession drills with the Sounders. To be sure, this is not a prelude to him making the 18 on Sunday, but as Brian Schmetzer said after practice, “today was a good day for him.”
The other good piece of injury news involved Harry Shipp, who returned to full training today. “He’s ready to go,” Schmetzer said. That will obviously prove to be a boost to the team, given his form prior to the injury. Fortunately, his injury did coincide with the emergence of Victor Rodriguez, and with the possibility (likelihood?) of a mid-week game next week, it will be a huge bonus to have Shipp back to allow for an option to spell Rodriguez, who has played a significant amount of minutes over the last month.
Brad Smith is still a bit behind Shipp, given the nature and timing of their injuries. Depending on the scheduling of the playoff game, he might be an option for that match. With Nouhou available, that’s obviously less of a concern for the time being.
Aside from that, the Sounders appear to be close to full health (knock on proverbial wood), and appear to be ready for Decision Day (insert MLS sponsor here). The most important things according to the Sounders are (in order) getting the win, and playing the style of soccer that will provide momentum going into the playoffs. “We need to get a result; I want them to play good soccer,” Schmetzer said. “At this stage, the points are key.”
The Sounders do no control their own destiny as it pertains to the bye, as they need to win and have Dallas drop points, but Sounders’ captain Ozzie Alonso would certainly prefer skipping out on the mid-week game if they can help it. “If you skip it [mid-week], it’s good because you don’t have to play three days between games,” Alonso said. “You have a little rest so you can focus on the next round. If you have to [play], you have to.”
With the team getting healthy again, at least they’ll have options with which to navigate the post-season congestion if it comes to that.