Chad Marshall returned to the Seattle Sounders FC lineup Sunday, and winning returned with him.
The Sounders had been sailing along with the best record in Major League Soccer before Marshall missed a couple of games with a back injury suffered in what seemed to be a minor automobile accident. The Sounders lost both of them. Marshall returned over the weekend and Seattle bounced back with a 2-0 win over the Houston Dynamo. The win also returned the Sounders to the top of the MLS standings.
“Nice to have Chad back,” coach Sigi Schmid said. “He makes good plays, he wins headers, helps break up attacks. His knowledge as to when to step in is very good.”
Marshall said it was nice to be back, although he stressed that he wasn’t solely responsible for putting an end to those consecutive losses.
Sign Up and Save
Get six months of free digital access to The Bellingham Herald
“Obviously, all credit (for the shutout goes to goalkeeper Stefan Frei),” Marshall said. “He made some huge saves for us. It's always nice to get a zero and get three points at home."
Still, the numbers show that the Sounders are a tougher team — certainly a tougher defense — with the 11-year veteran central defender on the pitch.
In the 19 regular-season games Marshall has started since coming to Seattle in an offseason trade, the Sounders are 13-4-2 while allowing 1.3 goals per game with seven shutouts. With Marshall out, Seattle is 0-2 while allowing two goals per game with no shutouts.
So why was Marshall out?
He attributed it to a small accident and a big head.
“I was coming home from the team barbeque,” Marshall said Monday. “I was taking Brad Evans home, going up Market Street. I think the guy in front of me stops pretty quickly because the guy in front of him was trying to parallel park. So then I stopped. The girl behind me almost hit me. She stopped just in time, but the guy behind her hit her into me. I saw her almost hit us, and then I think I kind of relaxed, and she hit us. … It was just a little fender-bender. There were three other people in the car. Brad was there; he said his neck was a little sore the next day, but no one really had it like me. I just have a huge head, and there was a lot of whip.”
Even then, Marshall didn’t initially realize how long he would need to recover.
He said it was about 20 minutes after the accident before he started feeling anything. And it still seemed minor until the next day when he turned his head to cough, and his back went into spasms.
It eventually cost him two Sounders games — a 3-0 home loss to Los Angeles and a 1-0 loss at San Jose — and also an appearance in the MLS All-Star Game on Wednesday in Portland.
However, Marshall was able to return to full training last week, and then played all 90 minutes Sunday against the Dynamo.
He apparently came through fine and should be available this week when the Sounders play a U.S. Open Cup semifinal against Chicago on Wednesday before returning to league play Saturday at Real Salt Lake.
Another day passed without completion of the transfer that is expected to send second-year right back DeAndre Yedlin to Tottenham of the English Premier League. Seattle coach Sigi Schmid indicated the deal is close and that he hopes it resolves before the Wednesday home match against the Fire. … A Sounders official indicated that the discolored CenturyLink Field turf Sunday was due to a field crew error in preparing the FieldTurf surface after a corporate event held in the stadium over the weekend.