Sounders Insider

Anibaba's marking of EJ wasn't personal, Sounders say

Sounders defender Jalil Anibaba was seen closely shadowing former Sounder Eddie Johnson regularly last weekend in Seattle’s 1-0 win at D.C. United -- even well away from the goal.

However, both Anibaba and coach Sigi Schmid were asked about that at training this week, and both said there was no particular man-on-man marking responsibilities.

“It was just more of doing what I had to do to keep him quiet," Anibaba said. "They also had other weapons as well, so it wasn't just me versus Eddie or anything like that. It was just a collective effort. He drops into midfield quite a bit, and I didn't want him to pick up the ball, turn and run at us. I figure it’s better to follow him deep, because we know when he runs at us he’s dangerous.”

Anibaba has played both central and outside defense in his first season with the Sounders since coming over from Chicago. Against United, he shared the central defense with Chad Marshall.“We were playing our usual back four,” Schmid said. “But I said whenever possible you match up with Eddie. He was playing more left of center, and I know Eddie likes to drift right, and when he did drift left I think him and Chad sometimes switches. But I think it was more the thing we emphasized was that if Eddie collected it with his back to goal, just stay on him tight, force him back; and I think Jalil got caught in that situation more times than Chad did and just stayed on him. So maybe it looked like he was going more personal, but he really wasn’t.”