BY MIKE DONOVAN
Obafemi Martins returned to practice on Thursday for the first time in two weeks while dealing with a knee injury. Despite his return to practice, Sigi Schmid told KJR Radio that Martins will not play in Saturday’s match against the New England Revolution. The team listed Martins as out for the match.
Without Martins in the lineup, the Sounders fell in the CONCACAF Champions League semifinals to Santos Laguna and now return to MLS action as the only club that has yet to win a match this season. The big money signing has played just 82 minutes for the club while dealing with the injury and playing for the Nigerian National Team.
Here are some more news and notes from around the Western Conference heading into ML Week Seven action:
Juan Agudelo, who suffered a hamstring injury in the first half of the March 30 match against the Vancouver Whitecaps, is unlikely to start for the Goats when they take on the Colorado Rapids Saturday. According to the team’s web site, Agudelo is hoping to make the bench for the match.
The team is undefeated in the four games that Agudelo has started this season and has gotten two goals from the US International. Osvaldo Minda (hamstring) and Miller Bolanos (ankle) have also missed training this week for the club.
The search for a third-string goalkeeper for the Rapids has continued with the club being joined by former Santa Clara goalkeeper Larry Jackson for training on Thursday. Jackson was named the WCC Goalkeeper of the year in 2012, but went undrafted in the 2013 MLS Superdraft.
Jackson is the third goalkeeper Colorado has brought in since Matt Pickens broke his arm in the March 16 match against Real Salt Lake. Arsenal FC’s James Shea practiced with the Rapids for two weeks, but has returned to London. Colorado also worked out former Real Salt Lake goalkeeper Kyle Reynish while searching for a third-string option. Until one is signed, the Rapids will make due with Clint Irwin and Stew Ceus.
When George John left at halftime of Saturday’s match with Toronto FC with a head injury, there were concerns that the center back might have sustained a concussion. However, those fears have not been realized as John has been training with the club in the buildup to this Saturday’s match with the LA Galaxy and is not listed on the most recent injury report released by the team. Without the experienced defender on the field, Dallas gave up two late goals as Toronto FC came back for the 2-2 tie.
Landon Donovan made his first start of the season for the LA Galaxy in Wednesday’s loss to Monterrey in the CONCACAF Champions League. Not only did Donovan start for the first time, he also played the full 90 minutes.
Donovan missed all of the preseason and the first three games of MLS season while taking a break from competitive soccer. Donovan is expected to start playing regularly for the Galaxy soon, however, he might not be in the lineup when the club takes on FC Dallas at home on Saturday, due to the quick turnaround from Wednesday’s game.
After sustaining a head injury against the Houston Dynamo, Diego Valeri is slowly making his way back to the field for the Timbers. Valeri started his league-mandated return-to-play protocol on Monday.
The Colombian was seen at practice during the week but had not been cleared to fully return, as of Thursday. If Valeri is unable to play in Sunday’s match against the San Jose Earthquakes, Kalif Alhassan will likely replace him in the lineup.
REAL SALT LAKE
Javier Morales, who underwent surgery to repair a torn meniscus in the preseason, is hoping to find himself in the starting lineup when RSL takes on the Vancouver Whitecaps on Saturday afternoon. Morales has come off the bench in the last two matches, but is yet to crack the starting lineup.
Without the creative Argentine midfielder in the lineup, the club has struggled to score goals this season with just five in six games. Morales has led the club in three of the last five MLS seasons.
SAN JOSE EARTHQUAKES
Steven Lenhart made his long-awaited season debut on Saturday, coming off the bench in the 69th minute against the Vancouver Whitecaps. It was the first time all season that San Jose had the trifecta of Lenhart, Alan Gordon, and Chris Wondolowski in the gameday roster.
Despite Lenhart’s return, he might not return to the starting lineup this week with the Eartquakes taking on the Timbers on the turf of Jeld-Wen Field. Lenhart missed the first five games of the season with a torn meniscus.
Kenny Miller is questionable for Saturday’s home match with Real Salt Lake as the Scottish striker continues to deal with a hamstring injury. Miller took part in some training Thursday, but might not be ready for Saturday.
Miller has already matched his goal total from last season with two and has scored in the last two games he has played for the club. Last weekend, Miller was replaced in the lineup with Corey Hertzog, who scored his first MLS goal in the match.