MLS Soccer

Sounders deal with international issues

Soccer is known as the world’s sport, and Seattle Sounders FC has seldom been more aware of that than now.

The issues go far beyond their Canadian opponent this weekend, Toronto FC — although the Reds have significant international issues of their own.

The Sounders trained Tuesday without central defender Roman Torres, who is away with the Panamanian national team, and midfielder Marco Pappa, who is away with the Guatemalan national team.

Meanwhile, star forward Clint Dempsey, who could return from a hamstring injury Saturday against Toronto, is scheduled to depart thereafter to join the U.S. national team for its Sept. 8 friendly against Brazil. However, Sounders coach Sigi Schmid said he plans to talk to national team coach Jurgen Klinsmann about that, noting that a player just back from injury might not be wise to play two games in four days.

And across the Atlantic, Tottenham Hotspur completed a loan that sends former homegrown Seattle defender DeAndre Yedlin to Sunderland for the rest of the English Premier League season.

Schmid discusses these issues:

▪  The international call-ups: “Torres is captain of the Panamanian team. We had discussions with Panama. There’s a good relationship there, not an issue. But even though it’s an international fixture date and these are friendlies and preparation, they are also at the stage now where they’re trying to figure things out in terms of their players’ bonus structure and things like that. As a captain, he’s very important to that discussion for sure.

“And for Pappa, it’s an opportunity for him to get games. And they’re playing World Cup qualifiers that will determine whether they advance into the next round or not, so we can’t really hold him back if they want him.”

▪  If the players could be back for the Sept. 12 match at San Jose: “Yeah, they should be. They both play their second game on Tuesday (Sept. 8). Pappa’s in Aruba and Torres is in Venezuela, but Venezuela is not that far from Panama, really.”

▪  On Dempsey’s status: “It is what it is. I’m sure Jurgen and me are going to talk this week.”

▪  On Yedlin’s loan to Sunderland: “I don’t know if they see him as a right midfielder or a right back. But I think for a player, when you’re in a situation where you feel you’re not going to get playing time, I think you’re always a little bit excited going into a situation where you think, ‘Hey, this team wants me now, so that means they’ll probably give me an opportunity to play here.’ So it’s a matter of what he does with that opportunity and playing time.”

▪  On Toronto without forward Sebastian Giovinco (released from Italy’s national team due to adductor injury) and Jozy Altidore, who has been called to the U.S. national team: “Giovinco has had a fantastic season for them, certainly one of the revelations of the league. … I wouldn’t count him out entirely at this stage, because it’s an adductor. Is it a strain? Is it something he recovers from a little bit quickly? Maybe it’s something where the national team says ‘We don’t want to rehab you here, so go back home.’ So we play on Saturday. You never know. Altidore getting called in to the full team obviously takes away a piece from them up front, but they’ve had other people that have played there.”


Goalkeeper Stefan Frei, who won the MLS save of the week award last week, had been nominated again for a one-on-one stop he made on Lucas Melano in Seattle’s 2-1 win over Portland on Sunday. … The indoor Tacoma Stars have announced the signing of midfielder Joey Gjertsen of Tacoma. Gjertsen, 33, played at Wilson High School, Tacoma Community College and Evergreen State and has professional experience with MLS San Jose and USL Montreal and Vancouver. He appeared in five games last season with the Pierce County-based Sounders U-23.

Don Ruiz: 253-597-8808