A look at some options:
FORWARD: In the first two matches, the starters were Dempsey and Obafemi Martins.
With Dempsey out, Schmid moved Lamar Neagle up from midfield in the Tuesday friendly against Club Tijuana. However,
he said later that he was just looking at combinations, and that his decision then didn’t tip his hand for Saturday.
Or maybe he was just saying that for the benefit of Dallas coach Oscar Pareja.
If not, the cleanest move would simply be the one-for-one swap replacing Dempsey with veteran Chad Barrett, who last season had seven goals in 26 appearances including eight starts.
Let's say: Martins, Barrett
MIDFIELD: In the first two matches, the starters were Pappa, Michael Azira, Gonzalo Pineda and Neagle.
Pappa will have to be replaced. So would Neagle if he slides up to forward. Meanwhile, there will be stability in a way that Sounders fans probably don't want, as Osvaldo Alonso has been ruled out again.
The cleanest sub for Pappa would be Aaron Kovar, but Schmid said he tried to limit the Tuesday minutes for the guys he’ll be leaning on Saturday. And Kovar played 90 minutes against Tijuana. So did Cristian Roldan. Meanwhile, Andy Rose went only 45.
If Neagle does go forward, Barrett would then become a midfield option. Or Brad Evans could return to midfield -- but that would just create yet another hole to fill on the back line.
Let's say: Pineda, Azira, Rose, Neagle.
DEFENSE: In the first two matches, the starters were Mears, Brad Evans, Chad Marshall and Leo Gonzalez.
If Mears and Marshall are healthy, this line likely stays intact. If Mears isn’t, it could be telling that Schmid has tossed a lot of compliments toward rookie Oniel Fisher. The versatile Evans also could slide back out to right back, but his likely replacement in the middle would be 34-year-old Zach Scott, who went the full 90 Tuesday. On the other hand, if Marshall can't go, it's hard to imagine anyone but Scott sliding in.
On the other, other hand, if Marshall can't go, none of the rest my matter.
Let's say: Fisher, Evans, Scott, Gonzalez.