MLS Soccer

Arrival of Thomas well-timed for shorthanded Sounders

Brazilian midfielder Thomas signed with Seattle Sounders FC on Monday and could be playing with them Saturday when up to four key starters could be missing from the squad.

The Sounders know that when they visit Sporting Kansas City they will be without midfielders Brad Evans and Osvaldo Alonso, and they may also be without forwards Obafemi Martins and Clint Dempsey.

Evans is away with the United States national team, and on Tuesday the MLS Disciplinary Committee announced a one-game suspension and undisclosed fine against Alonso for a “violent conduct” — kicking an opposing player — in the 83rd minute of the Sunday match against the New York Red Bulls.

Coach Sigi Schmid also announced that Martins underwent surgery for a broken nose and could be unavailable this weekend. Meanwhile, Dempsey and his wife continued to await the birth of their fourth child.

Schmid said with all of that, he sees Thomas “definitely in the (starting) 18” at Kansas City.

That sounded good to Thomas, who had been training with the club pending completion of his international paperwork.

“I’m very satisfied,” he said in Portuguese and translated through a Sounders employee. “I’m happy with the city. It’s a big city. Very green. Lots of things to do. I’m also fitting in with the team. Everybody welcomed me very well. For that I’m very happy and looking forward to contribute as soon as possible.”

The Sounders say they started tracking Thomas about three years ago, when he was 19 years old. He was finally signed after 61 career appearances in the professional leagues of Brazil, including 19 with Flamengo in the Brazilian Serie A.

“He can play anywhere in the midfield,” Sounders sporting director Chris Henderson said. “I think his strengths are probably coming out of wide midfield. So he’ll be in competition with the other guys who have been in good form this year. I think he’s willing to compete and work for playing time. I think in moments he’ll be dangerous going at players one-on-one. It’s important for us to keep the ball, and when he’s on the ball he can make things happen.”

More from Thomas and additional discussion about the signing from Schmid and Henderson is available at blog.thenewstribune.com/soccer.

CHAMPIONS LEAGUE DRAW

Schmid and Henderson also gave their opinions on the CONCACAF Champions League draw held Monday, which put the Sounders in a home-and-away, round-robin group with the Vancouver Whitecaps of MLS and Olimpia of Honduras.

Schmid: “The travel is less than we expected. … I think it is a tough group. Much harder than I think the other MLS-team groups are. Us and Vancouver: that’s now five games that we’ve got to play against Vancouver (counting CCL and the MLS regular season). … I think we see those guys enough. That’s not even counting a playoff game. It would have been nice to avoid them. I’m sure they feel the same way. But at the end of the day, it is the draw that we have to abide by, and we’ll have to get after it.”

Henderson: “Interesting draw — the only MLS team to get another MLS team in our group. That’s going to be a challenge. Vancouver’s had a good year, and we’ve always had tough games with them. And then going back to Honduras (in 2010-11) when we played Metapan. … It’ll be a big challenge for us in the first round.”

ADDED TIME

Sounders FC announced that it is sold out of lower-level season tickets, and has started a priority list for future availability at SoundersFC.com/PriorityList. … The club is off Wednesday. It will resume local training Thursday before flying to Kansas City in the afternoon.

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