Johnson questionable for Seattle’s playoff opener
Seattle Sounders forward Eddie Johnson might miss the first leg
of the MLS Western Conference semifinals against Real Salt Lake on
Friday with a hamstring strain but should be able to play in the
second leg on Nov. 8 in Utah.
Sounders coach Sigi Schmid said Tuesday that Johnson’s injury
was less severe than first believed when he was forced to leave the
regular season finale on Sunday night against Los Angeles. Johnson
had an MRI on Monday and Schmid called the injury a ”hamstring
”We wanted to go easy with him today and then see where he’s at
tomorrow,” Schmid said. ”It’s slight. It’s not nearly as bad as
we had feared it might be. There’s an outside chance on Friday and
for sure the second game shouldn’t be a problem.”
Johnson left the match against the Galaxy late in the first
half. He said after the 1-0 loss that cost Seattle a shot at second
place in the final conference standings that his hamstring
tightened up on a number of runs earlier in the match and the smart
thing was not push it and make the injury worse.
”We had thought based off the way he was feeling the day after
that we didn’t think it was as bad and the MRI confirmed that,”
Johnson’s had a breakout season in his return to MLS after
struggling to find success playing in Europe. Johnson led Seattle
with 14 goals in the regular season and his play was good enough to
earn a call-up to the U.S. national team for the first time in more
than two years. Johnson proved his value on the international stage
with two goals and an assist in World Cup qualifying wins over
Antigua and Barbuda and Guatemala.
If Johnson can’t play, Sammy Ochoa could be the likely candidate
to start, although Schmid could shift his lineup and use David
Estrada or Steve Zakuani in an attacking position. Ochoa started
against Salt Lake on Oct. 17 when Johnson was returning off duty
with the U.S.
Should Johnson not be able to play on Friday it would be the
second straight year the Sounders start the playoffs short-handed.
Last year Mauro Rosales was injured in the regular season finale
against Chivas USA and did not play in Seattle’s semifinal loss to
”Certainly we missed Mauro and if Eddie can’t play we’ll miss
him but other guys have to step up and do the business,” Schmid