With a match at their arch rivals on Sunday and just three days removed from their win over the defending MLS Cup champions, the Seattle Sounders enter Wednesday’s international friendly with Borussia Dortmund from Germany needing to catch their breath.
That’s why there’s a good chance you’ll see Danny Leyva playing in the game at CenturyLink Field at 7:30 p.m. and not first team stars Jordan Morris or Nico Lodeiro. Both Morris and Lodeiro left Tuesday’s practice early but are expected to be fine for Sunday’s contest at Portland.
Sounders coach Brian Schmetzer said he’s going to be smart about who plays but is committed to producing a lineup that will provide competition to the Bundesliga powerhouse.
“I want the guys who are gonna step on the field to know that we’re going to put on a performance,” Schmetzer said. “Fans are going to pay money to watch us play so we need to make sure that the group that is going to be out there is prepared, organized and anxious to play.”
International friendlies rarely hold the same emotion as MLS games for Seattle, but Schmetzer wants his team to remain sharp heading into a game against a team trying to dig itself out of the bottom third of the standings. Currently, Portland is 10th in the Western Conference; Seattle is alone in second.
“We’ve used some of these exhibition games to kind of start or continue our momentum going uphill,” Schmetzer said. “Young kids get to play and they’re enthusiastic about playing, definitely.”
This will be the second of three games this week for the Sounders, who beat Atlanta United, 2-1, on Sunday. For one of the first times this season, the Sounders are healthy and minutes will need to be juggled for a team that just got players back from international duties.
“For this friendly, for the next couple of games... when you have everybody back there will be a need to balance the playing time a little bit,” Schmetzer said. “Giving guys rest that need it.”