However, despite the 1-0 win in Illinois, Sounders coach Sigi Schmid indicated he is rethinking that roster strategy heading into another week that includes both CONCACAF Champions League and MLS regular-season games: Marathon's visit on Wednesday, and Toronto's on Saturday.
"Sometimes – like today, I thought it took us a while to get going," Schmid said after the Saturday game. "So sometimes when you’re in the rhythm of playing, resting isn’t always the best thing. We’ll see what lineup we throw out there. We’ll make those decisions on Monday and Tuesday. Obviously if we get very lucky in CONCACAF we’re still not completely out of it. We still have a chance to tie (Marathon and Saprissa). But for us the focus is also next weekend with Toronto and then the Open Cup final is right after that."
However, despite that slow start Saturday, Schmid made clear that he is proud of how his team handled a September jammed with almost 18,000 travel miles.
"Sometimes the guys don’t remember what their room number is because they’ve been in so many hotels," he said. "But to come out of this at the end of the trip with us playing our fourth game in basically 14 days and to come out with a win was huge."
The travel lightens for the Sounders from here, but the pace of games doesn't. Two-game weeks stretch all the way to the end of the regular season: Marathon-Toronto this week, U.S. Open Cup final and MLS trip to Kansas City the next, the Chivas Guadalajara friendly and Chivas USA league game the following week, and then the end of Champions League group play and the end of the MLS regular season at Houston the week after that.