Fredy Montero has been cleared to return to training, although coach Sigi Schmid implied his availability for the Saturday game in Philadelphia isn't yet known.
Schmid is always hesitant to give away his starting lineup, but he talked around the fringes a bit today, and certain things probably become clearer if you read between the lines a bit.
On Montero's status) We’ll see how the improvements come along and be smart about it. The last two games we’ve been able to produce some offense, so there’s no need to rush it or take and undue chance. … He would have been training (had they had a normal non-softball day). (See post below.)
On Michael Fucito) Coming along very well. With him it’s always an issue when he’s out for a while, fitness-wise we have to be careful with him so it doesn’t pull because he has such a compact body. But he played well, put a good effort in the reserve game, scored a goal as well, and that was good.
On the lineup when Montero comes available) We’ll cross that bridge when we come to it. We won’t worry about it right now. When guys are playing well it’s tough to break up a team. They haven't lost now in their last three games, and we want to continue to build on that.
On Brad Evans has claimed the center-mid spot next to Osvaldo Alonso) Obviously we’ve got options this year. Eric Friberg’s done well, and he can play inside there. Rosales can possibly play inside there. There are different options. A little bit depends on the opponent, a little bit depends on the form of the players. If Brad plays well, he’s certainly somebody who can make his way onto the field because he offers a lot of things that don’t sometimes show up in the box score: winning duals at midfield, winning headers, being dangerous for us on set pieces, being able to help us clear. Those things all factor into winning and losing.
And finally this from goalkeeper Kasey Keller on the central defender quartet of Jon Kennedy Hurtado, Jeff Parke, Patrick Ianni and Taylor Graham:
"We’re in a situation now where we have four good center backs. With Jeff and Jon and Pat and Taylor, I think the combination, it’s really a case of who’s playing well at the time and who steps in and plays well to keep their position. Because I think the coaching staff knows that anyone who steps in can do the job for us, and it keeps that good competition so the guys who are playing have to be on their toes and make sure they perform because there’s somebody at practice every day waiting for their chance."