Sounders notebook: Nelson Valdez doubtful vs Houston, S2 to Tacoma?
A few notes from the Sounders this week:
• Valdez doubtful for Sunday. Nelson Valdez, the Sounders forward who has started all four matches this season, is doubtful for Sunday’s road game against the Houston Dynamo. Head coach Sigi Schmid said on Thursday that Valdez took a knock on his leg after landing awkwardly in training. Valdez was seen training lightly at Starfire on Friday, and Schmid said that it will be a last-minute decision whether or not Valdez travels with the team to Houston. Either way, it’s extremely unlikely that Valdez will start on Sunday, but there is the chance that he’ll make the bench. Jordan Morris is likely to start up front for the Sounders, and Herculez Gomez may make his first appearance as a substitute against Houston.
• Sounders 2 to Tacoma? Seattle Sounders 2, the club’s second team meant to bridge the gap between the Sounders academy and the first team, may be moving a few miles south in the near future. The team announced Friday that it was looking into possible stadiums in Tacoma for S2 to play home games in, along with a potential rebranding to suit its new home. The Sounders are partnering with the Tacoma Rainiers, the Seattle Mariners’ Triple-A affiliate in Tacoma, for this move that could take the new team south as soon as 2018. With all of the hubbub surrounding S2 and the Community Trust, this move is a signal from the Sounders front office that they want to do big things with the team and make it more fan-accessible.
• Schmid scouting Dynamo? Near the end of March, on the Sounders’ first bye week, Sigi Schmid admitted to attending a match while on a mini-vacation, but declined to say where or which match. On Friday, he mentioned being in Vancouver for the Vancouver-Houston match; Schmid could have been scouting the Dynamo for Seattle’s upcoming match against them, or he could have been scouting specific players in the match.
• Possible friendly opponent. It’s been rumored this week that English Premier League side West Ham United would be coming to town for a friendly against the Sounders this summer. As an upper-mid-table team right now, West Ham could be an excellent opponent to keep the Sounders sharp midseason, kind of like Tottenham Hotspur in 2014. The Hammers have one of the most exciting players in England right now in French midfielder Dimitri Payet, who could play in Seattle if international duty doesn’t interfere. Last season, the Sounders hosted Mexican side Club Tijuana, a match that ended in a 2-2 draw.
Spenser Davis also covers the Sounders for Sounder at Heart.