BY Stanley Holmes 11:31AM 04/20/2011

Sigi expects to tweak lineup for Colorado

Alvaro Fernandez is battling for a starting midfield spot in the game against the Colorado Rapids this Friday as Schmid hints at more lineup changes.

Sounders midfielder Alvaro Fernandez is back -- battling for a starting spot. / Drew McKenzie, Sportspress Northwest

Coach Sigi Schmid has yet to decide on a regular starting 11.

He said he expects to make some more player tweaks for the match against the Colorado Rapids on Friday.

“How it’s going to look this weekend? Who is going to play?,” Schmid asked rhetorically. “Right now I couldn’t tell you. I haven’t really made up my mind. Is there a possibility that there will be some changes in every part of the field? Yes, very possible.”

Marksman Fredy Montero is back. He put in a strong 30-minutes against Philadelphia and helped to engineer and assist on the equalizing goal. The combination of Montero and Mauro Rosales looked strong in the first time the two South Americans have played together in a competitive match.

“He’s a great player, really smart and intelligent player,” Montero said, on Rosales. “As a team, we really need to take advantage of what he can do to give us an advantage.”

Both seem to excel in the withdrawn forward role of Schmid’s multi-flexible and multi-dimensional 4-4-2, despite concerns that the two play similar roles, have some similar characteristics. This formation, it appears, can morph in a nano second to a 3-4-3 or 3-5-2 or any combination of the number 10 that you can imagine.

Somehow, the two seemed to find a connection and carved out complementing roles for themselves, as they helped to inspire Seattle’s second-half comeback.

That could put traditional forwards O’Brian White and Nate Jaqua on the bench. It seems White may be rested as part of managing the young Jamaican’s time and expectations. Jaqua has yet to find his form, though his effort is strong. So, if you want to play the two best forwards on the pitch at the same time, at this moment, it’s likely Montero and Rosales.

Schmid alludes to possibly resting players, or going with those who have the hot foot, so to speak.

“You got to look at who’s playing well, and obviously if you have enough depth and enough players are playing well, you could even rest some people along the way,” Schmid said.”Because it does get (to be) a strain playing the amount of games you have to play, so you can keep the troops sharp and energetic.”

Finding the right midfield combination among six very qualified contenders has been an endless source of drama and interest. The lastest chapter now has Alvaro Fernandez literally rising to the challenge of being benched — he headed in the tying goal against the Union in stoppage time. At Tuesday’s training, Fernandez was crackling in the 5 v 5 scrimmages, saying later his conversation with Schmid last week was helpful.

“We talked about working my hardest and giving my best and I think you saw I could do that,” Fernandez said, through an interpreter. “I’m working hard on being more aggressive, that’s what I was missing.

“Playing a little bit more tough on defense, that’s one of the things we talked about, and I try to focus on that a little more,” he said.

Watch for some potential changes in the endless game of midfield musical chairs. Will Fernandez find one of those starting chairs at the expense of Brad Evans or Erik Friberg? Neither of those two had a particularly strong match last week — particularly Friberg — who seemed out of synch.

If Schmid opts for a traditional forward, either White or Jaqua, where does Rosales go? He has to be on the pitch. Does he bump someone else off.

Fernandez is clearly primed to play a bigger role this Friday, should Schmid call on him. Sitting on the bench is no fun.

“I’ve never had a problem with Sigi, I’ve never had a problem with the coaches,” Fernandez said. “That doesn’t mean I agree with the decisions that were made but that’s their job to see things from the outside. ”

Montero, who assisted on the Fernandez’s goal, hopes the Uruguayan can maintain his quality. “I think he was really happy about that goal that he scored,” Montero said. “He demonstrated the caliber of player that he is, and I hope he can maintain that.”

For Schmid, the challenge is finding that magic  combination to unlock the potential that most agree really exists on this team.  It may or may not happen against Colorado this Friday but it’s coming. Schmid now has a full and healthy squad–and guys hungry to play.

“For us, our main concern is just to worry about us and continue to play good soccer, play better soccer,” Schmid said. “I think we have shown in the past our capabilities of being able to play all the top teams on a pretty equal footing and that’s something we want to do. We were a little bit disappointed in our game in Philadelphia.

“We are very pleased that we came back and got the point, got the equalizer because it showed a good attitude at the end of the game,” Schmid said. “But we are also displeased because we think we can play better than that.”


  • Pingback: Exit 164: T-minus one week mock draft roundup |

  • riddleboy

    The Silva-Bradley swap was a crap shoot, or maybe a turkey shoot based on its outcome. The Cubs had the pleasure of Silva’s early season win streak in 2010 before canning him this season and the M’s got to witness the validation of eight MLB clubs’ opinions of Bradley.
    Did Z-man really think he was wiser than everyone else in baseball? Or did he think he could pull a rabbit from a truly empty hat? Or implant something in the vacuous hat holder atop Bradley’s neck? If so, he and Mike Holmgren should set up shop together.
    Fortunately, Bradley can be viewed in the rear view mirror. Now Z-man can get down to the business of building for the future. Whoops, forgot Figgins, Cust, Kennedy, Ja. Wilson and probably several other retreads.
    Another possibility is that Nintendo’s financial losses and current M’s attendance might force the reclusive Japanese owner to sell the club to a knowledgeable individual or group which would shred the Lincoln-Armstrong management script, thus giving Z-man the latitude to build real major league team in Seattle.
    Ah, hope springs eternal in the human breast.

  • Alex

    Milton Bradley was released because he sucked at baseball and is not part of the the team’s future. He was not released for being a malcontent.

  • Sgos49

    The Cubs were smarter…Silva was gone March 27.