Most forwards believe that after one goal comes, more will follow.
And most soccer coaches believe that when goals come, increased playing time will follow.
If those beliefs are right, expect to see Sammy Ochoa on the pitch Saturday when Sounders FC visits the Chicago Fire.
Ochoa has come off the bench in two of the Sounders’ five MLS matches, for a total of 52 minutes.
However, he played 89 minutes and scored two goals in Seattle’s 4-3 Reserve League win at Chivas USA on Monday. Now, he and coach Sigi Schmid agreed that kind of performance raises the opportunity for more.
“Like we’ve done last year and this year as well, when guys play well with the reserve team and have good performances, then that opens up the door and gives them opportunities as they move up,” Schmid said. “Him getting goals was very important.”
Ochoa played five seasons in the Mexican first division before being acquired by Seattle last August. He appeared in six matches – including two playoff appearances – and scored two goals.
It seemed likely Ochoa would go into this season as the top candidate to start alongside Fredy Montero at forward.
However, that changed during the offseason, when the Sounders traded Michael Fucito and Lamar Neagle for forward Eddie Johnson. Schmid confirmed the deal was made with the assumption that Johnson would start.
Johnson wasn’t healthy enough to do that when this MLS season began. However, it was David Estrada – not Ochoa – who drew the starting assignment. And he made the most of it with four goals over his first two games.
“When I saw the trade, when I saw Mike leave, it was hard for everybody,” Ochoa said after training Wednesday at Starfire Sports Complex in Tukwila. “Eddie’s a good player. He’s helping out the team a lot. And Estrada is doing great. It’s a good competition for everybody. Yeah, you’re mad because you’re not playing. But the team, it’s working. You’ve just got to keep working, and hopefully you get your chance and do the best with it when you get it.”
Between Estrada’s explosive start and Johnson’s return to health, there weren’t many minutes available for Ochoa, as the Sounders’ schedule doled out only five games over its first six weeks.
Now that’s about to chance dramatically, as the weekend match in Chicago will begin a stretch of three games over eight days, and eight games during the next month.
“We have a lot of games, so hopefully I get more playing time,” Ochoa said. “You’ve got to keep working during the week, and Sigi decides who plays.”
Michael Gspurning (illness) was limited in training Wednesday, but Schmid said the starting goalkeeper is expected to be available Saturday. ... The club will train in Tukwila again this morning before traveling to Chicago in the afternoon. ... Sounders U-23 of the Premier Development League announced the signing of three players with local high school connections: Chase Hanson, a midfielder from Thomas Jefferson; Fernando Monge, a midfielder from Eastside Catholic, and Doug Herrick, a goalkeeper from O’Dea. ... Sounders Women announced they will increase capacity at Starfire Sports Stadium for the May 4 friendly against the University of Washington, which was previously announced as sold out. Bleacher tickets will be made available at 3 p.m. today, and standing-room tickets will be sold two hours before the 7:30 p.m. kickoff. More information is available at SoundersWomen.com.
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