MLS Soccer

Goalkeeper Perkins could get first MLS start as Sounder

Seattle Sounders FC goalkeeper Troy Perkins, right, watches as a shot from Club Tijuana's Dayro Moreno, second from left, goes wide to bounce off the post as Moreno fends off the Sounders' Gonzalo Pineda  during the first half of an international friendly soccer match March 24.
Seattle Sounders FC goalkeeper Troy Perkins, right, watches as a shot from Club Tijuana's Dayro Moreno, second from left, goes wide to bounce off the post as Moreno fends off the Sounders' Gonzalo Pineda during the first half of an international friendly soccer match March 24. AP

Veteran goalkeeper Troy Perkins has started 219 Major League Soccer matches, so he doesn’t seem concerned about No. 220 just because it would be his first as a Seattle Sounder.

“I’ve played plenty of games,” Perkins said this week. “I know these guys a lot, I’ve trained with them every day. From Day One, it’s never been, ‘You’re the backup; go sit down.’ It’s the team, and the club, and the coaching staff has always kept me involved, kept me into everything. It will be fun. It will be fun going forward to see how things work out.”

Perkins got his first MLS minutes as a Sounder on Friday, when he replaced injured starter Stefan Frei just before halftime of what turned out to be a 1-0 Seattle victory over D.C. United.

X-rays of Frei’s injured left shoulder came back negative this week. However, Frei was a spectator at training Tuesday and seems doubtful for the Sounders’ Saturday match at Chicago.

“We’ll see how he is (Wednesday), and then we’ll see how he is Thursday,” coach Sigi Schmid said. “But he said his range of motion is increasing. … It’s a pain tolerance (issue, but we’ll also wait) until he gets his range of motion back, his strength back — he feels comfortable with that.”

If Frei isn’t ready by the weekend, the starting assignment will go to Perkins, with rookie Charlie Lyon in reserve.

Perkins, 34, signed with Seattle on Jan. 13 after the retirement of previous Sounders reserve keeper Marcus Hahnemann. Perkins is in his 10th MLS season after playing with D.C. United, Portland and Montreal. He was named MLS goalkeeper of the year in 2006 and has six appearances with the United States national team.

“That’s the reason we signed Troy. He’s an experienced goalkeeper,” Schmid said. “He’s been around the league, he’s played, so he knows what it’s all about. As with any goalkeeper, when you’re not getting a lot of games sometimes you have to work on your timing more and you can’t get that timing unless you’re in games. But his experience, his shot-blocking ability, his ability to read the games are certainly things he brings.”

For all of Perkins’ career experience, he hasn’t seen the field — any field — much this season. He’s played the second half on Friday. He got one start with the Sounders 2 USL last month, and he was in goal when Portland eliminated the Sounders from the U.S. Open Cup. And that’s it so far, with another opportunity likely to come again Saturday.

“I’ve got to show the club that they made a good choice in picking me up,” Perkins said. “And I owe them a lot as well. It’s my chance to give them a little bit of payback for them helping me out.”

ADDED TIME

Obafemi Martins (leg) has begun running while his teammates practice. However, Schmid said Martins could join in for at least a portion of team training by next week. … Recently acquired midfielder Erik Friberg remains in Europe awaiting the paperwork that will allow him to join the Sounders. However, Schmid indicated that the delay already has made it unlikely that Friberg could travel and be ready to play by this weekend. … Individual game tickets for the Sounders’ home CONCACAF Champions League matches have gone on sale.

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