Sounders Insider

Sounders personnel, shape remains a mystery

Saturday's match in LA is ticking closer and coach Sigi Schmid indicated he still hasn't settled on a first 11 from among the many options available to him this week -- apparently including Clint Dempsey, Eddie Johnson, Obafemi Martins, Lamar Neagle, Brad Evans, Andy Rose, Adam Moffat, Osvaldo Alonso and Mauro Rosales. And that's just at forward and midfield. There's also his usual four options -- Hurtado. Traori, Ianni, Scott -- for the two central defender spots.

"It’s a good problem to have because you have options," Schmid said. "The team’s playing well, so obviously there’s going to be disappointment in whomever’s not in that lineup, because there’s a bunch of guys who want to be in that lineup and be starting. But we need everybody. We need everybody as we continue to move forward because you never know who’s going to take a knock, who takes an injury, who gets called into a national team, who’s out of form, and you don’t know what it is. So everybody’s got to be on top of their game and working hard. But for sure, on any given game there’s probably going to be one or two disappointed people – or more so. And that’s natural and that’s to be expected, but I know they’re all good professionals and I know they want to see us succeed as a team – that’s the most important thing. And as long as we all keep that in mind we’ll be fine."

Schmid was asked if Dempsey was added to the mix with no particular role, but rather just the trust that the coach would figure out a way to put it all together.

"Anytime you can add a quality player you add a quality player, and that was the opportunity that was there for us," he said. "Obviously Clint came – I don’t know if fortuitous is the right word – but it just happened at that moment, so you’re not going to look a gift horse in the mouth. So you’re going to accept that give and use it. And you try and make it work. But I’ve always been a coach that believes you put together your team based upon the talents of the team that you have. And I’ve never been, ‘I’m a 4-4-2 coach,’ or 'I’m a 3-5-2 coach.’ When Chris played for me at UCLA we were a 3-5-2 team because we had a couple of wingers – one was Cobi Jones and one was Chris Henderson – and it made a hell of a lot of sense to play a 3-5-2 and fly at people. But when we won our championship then later in ’97 we weren’t. We were a 4-4-2 team because that was the talent and that was the quality of the people that we had, and we had a good midfield and had some guys with Sasha Victorine and Peter Vagenas playing midfield and we could flow the ball through there. It all depends on the players that you have and putting them onto a spot on the field where you can best utilize the talents that they have."