MLS Soccer

Martins may leave, but new formation remains in plans

Seattle Sounders' Obafemi Martins watches the ball in the second half of an MLS soccer match against the Houston Dynamo, Saturday, April 4, 2015, in Seattle.
Seattle Sounders' Obafemi Martins watches the ball in the second half of an MLS soccer match against the Houston Dynamo, Saturday, April 4, 2015, in Seattle. AP

Obafemi Martins might be going away, but the Seattle Sounders’ new formation seems to be staying.

The team played its final preseason friendly Wednesday and kept the 4-3-3 shape, even though Martins had tweeted his farewell to Sounders fans just hours before.

Homegrown rookie Jordan Morris moved into Martins’ spot alongside forwards Clint Dempsey and Nelson Valdez, and the 4-0 win over the Los Angeles Galaxy seemed to give coach Sigi Schmid no incentive to change.

“We went into the season thinking this was a good way for our team to play based on personnel,” Schmid said Thursday by conference call before his team returned to the Northwest. “We knew that Jordan Morris was part of that mix for us up front. We trained on it, we tweaked it, we’ve changed it a little bit, we’ve gotten better about it. … That’s what we’ve been training on, and the team is starting to find some (comfort) in those positions right now.”

Against L.A., Seattle’s midfield was composed of Osvaldo Alonso, Erik Friberg and Andreas Ivanschitz, while the back line was made up of Tyrone Mears, Brad Evans, Chad Marshall and Joevin Jones in front of goalkeeper Stefan Frei.

Schmid had little to say about Martins, explaining “there is nothing finalized yet” regarding the star forward’s expected move to Shanghai Greenland Shenhua FC of China.

The coach also wasn’t ready to discuss other roster issues.

“There’s still a lot of tough decisions ahead of us,” he said. “In our league, there’s a lot of things that happen that determine how you put your roster together at the end of the day. We still have some time before March 1, and as everything becomes clear, then we’ll be able to put the final roster together. But there have been some young kids who have played very well.”

While the Sounders still have a couple of weeks to prepare for the March 6 start of their MLS season, they are down to their final three practices before opening their home-and-away CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinal against Club America at CenturyLink Field on Tuesday.

“I thought we held up really well fitness-wise (against L.A.), so we’re pleased with how we are there,” Schmid said. “We’re going to give them the day off (Friday), and then we’ve got training Saturday, Sunday and Monday. We’ll work a little bit on Saturday and get back into the rhythm, and then on Sunday and Monday we’ll prepare ourselves tactically for Club America.”

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