Sounders Insider

Sounders hoping to be closer to First 11 in Carolina; but Dempsey missing and USMNT a question

The Sounders used lots of combinations in the desert friendlies last week, but coach Sigi Schmid said today that he hopes to be closer to an actually First 11 next week when the club begins play in the Carolina Challenge Cup.

"It’s going to be a mix, but it’s definitely going to be closer to what we think is that team," he said. "But obviously working with the realization that Clint Dempsey is not going to be there. And then we’ve got to see the situation with Evans and possibly with DeAndre: Are they going to get called into the game against the Ukraine? Are they going to be gone that Wednesday, returning on that Thursday? How much of a role can they play then the following Saturday? All of those enter into that final decision."

He was asked about Dempsey's time at Fulham.

"Obviously Fulham is in a very difficult situation, that team has been struggling," Schmid said. "For him, he got 120 minutes the other day in the Cup game, and that’s the reason that he was held out of the next game: because of those minutes. Me and Clint have been in communication with each other and talking to each other. He feels he’s definitely getting there fitness-wise, and so he wanted to be sharp when he gets back to here. But when you’re in a relegation battle, it’s very emotionally taxing."

Schmid also was asked if a clear 1-2 pecking order is emerging at goalkeeper.

"They’re still out there every day battling and training," he said. "It’s too early to make a call in that regard."