Goal-scoring hasn’t been a major problem for Seattle Sounders FC.
Increasingly, the problem seems to be finding minutes for all the goal scorers.
Eddie Johnson has 11 goals. So does Fredy Montero. Steve Zakuani returned to the starting lineup this week. Forward Sammy Ochoa is struggling to find minutes on the pitch, despite five goals in five starts across all competitions. David Estrada, who led the club in scoring through the early weeks, is recovering from a foot injury and seems on pace to return to action this month.
In all, a dozen Sounders have combined for 41 goals this Major League Soccer season – sixth in the league. The club averaged almost three goals a game in August (20 in seven matches).
Now, former Chelsea and Barcelona goal scorer Eidur Gudjohnsen is in camp, and the task of finding enough minutes for everyone falls to coach Sigi Schmid, who seems excited by the opportunity.
“We’re looking to win a championship this year,” Schmid said Thursday. “And if we can make our team a little bit stronger, we’re going to try to make our team a little bit stronger. We never leave any stones unturned.”
The Sounders return to action Saturday, when Chivas USA visits. Then there’s another week before a visit to Portland on Sept. 15. But after that, the schedule picks up again with the conclusion of CONCACAF Champions League group play along with the home stretch of the MLS regular season.
“We still have games,” Schmid said. “We have two CONCACAF games in there, we still have some midweek games, we still have series where we play three games in a week.
“You always want to make sure you avoid injuries. You don’t know what’s going to happen. Having quality players on your team is never a detriment.”
Midfielders Mauro Rosales (quad) and Osvaldo Alonso (head) were limited in training Thursday, but Schmid indicated both should be available for Chivas.
“(Rosales) was pretty crushed after the weekend in Dallas and feels a little bit of a tinge; nothing serious or bad in his quad, yet,” he said. “We just want to be cautious. (Alonso has) been OK’d, but I just wanted to up-train him a little bit; do a little bit more (Thursday) and make sure there’s no setback going into (today).”
Sounders FC followed Thursday training with a clinic for soccer coaches from all levels, as well as club administrators, technical directors and athletic directors.
Schmid said the MLS club’s outreach to the lower levels of the sport is important.
“I think that’s really a bond that has to exist and has to be strong,” he said. “Even though there’s not a ton of players that are going to get from Washington Youth Soccer into the pro level, it’s still something for them to look up to, and it’s something for them to emulate, (and) something for them that is also motivating as well.”firstname.lastname@example.org 253-597-8808 blog.thenewstribune.com/soccer @donruiztnt