Sounders Insider

Schmid has two healthy keepers to choose from

Coach Sigi Schmid -- who likes keeping personnel issues to himself when he can -- said today that he doesn't yet know who will be his goalkeeper Saturday at Chivas, in what is likely the MLS game of the week.

However, he said that has been reassured about the Chris Eylander knee issues that concerned him earlier this week and that he believes he has two healthy keepers to choose from: Eylander and Ben Dragavon.

"We wanted to see how the workout would go with each of them today," Schmid said. "But we feel Chris is healthy, so we can base our decision upon a healthy Eylander versus a healthy Dragavon."

Otherwise not much news out of Sounders practice today other than the sunshine.

The Sounders have been practicing on their natural grass field at Starfire this week, since they will play their first game on natural grass Saturday at the Home Depot Center. But Schmid said he doesn't expect that to be an issue.

"It's got dirt underneath it instead of rubber pellets," he said. "It'll be good."

(However, MLSnet.com reports that the four teams that played their home games on an artificial surface last season -- New England, New York, Toronto and Real Salt Lake -- went a combined 11-29-9 on natural grass. On the other hand, those obviously are all road games, so a losing record would be expected in any case. Although probably not to that degree.)

Schmid also said he isn't surprised by the success Chivas (3-0-1; 10) has been having so far this season: "Not really. I think they are a good team. I know that they are missing players. For sure you always want to have your full compliment of players at your disposal. But if guys are out for a period like I said then you build your team in a different way and things work. You look at us at the start of the season, we were missing a key player in Freddie Ljungberg, and we designed a team and prepared it and we were able to play successfully. And now with him in and we're still going to play successfully, we're just going to play a little differently. And they're the same situation. I think they're a good team with a lot of talented players. It's a group that's been together for a while now. The nucleus down the middle of that group: (Carey) Talley, and Shavar Thomas and (Paulo) Nagamura and (Jesse) Marsch and Sacha Kljestan and (Jonathan) Bornstein, that group has been together for a while."

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