By DAN KARELL
With the 2013 MLS Cup playoffs set to begin on Wednesday evening, the Seattle Sounders will likely be without one of their most talented players for a must-win game.
On Tuesday evening after training, Sounders head coach Sigi Schmid confirmed to reporters that it’s very unlikely for forward Obafemi Martins to play a part in the knockout round game against the Colorado Rapids at CenturyLink Field. Martins has missed the last three games with a groin injury and has scored just twice since the start of August due to a number of injuries.
“If we had to decide today, he wouldn’t be playing.” Schmid told the Seattle Times, “We’ll have to see how he feels tomorrow.”
Martins is still listed as questionable for the game, but Mauro Rosales, who played just ten minutes last Sunday against the Los Angeles Galaxy, is no longer on the injury list.
Here are some more notes from around the league:
RIVERHOUNDS MAKING MOVES WITH MLS EXPANSION IN MIND
The Pittsburgh Riverhounds enjoyed a solid first season at their own soccer specific stadium in downtown Pittsburgh, and are keeping an eye on the future in case Major League Soccer expansion comes calling.
While the league is looking to expand into the Southeastern United States in the next few years, Riverhounds majority owner Tuffy Shallenberger became the majority owner of the stadium, allowing the team to potentially expand if they accrue higher and higher average attendances. The team already has plans to expand the stadium to seat 5,000 next season and Riverhounds CEO Jason Kutney wants to expand all the way to 7,000 if attendances increase.
“I think reasonably, you have to consider that it’s going to be somewhere between seven to 10 years,” Kutney told the Pittsburgh Post Gazette when asked for a realistic estimate of when his club could join MLS. “When I say reasonably, I think nothing shy of seven to 10 years.
“I believe [the MLS] will be looking in seven to 10 years for a market similar to Pittsburgh. Will it be Pittsburgh? That’s up to us.”
D.C. UNITED DECLINE OPTIONS ON THREE PLAYERS INCLUDING RUIZ
The writing was on the wall earlier this season, but on Wednesday, the news finally became official: Carlos Ruiz is no longer with D.C. United.
D.C. United announced that three players, including the 34-year-old forward, had their contract options declined, making them free agents for any team to sign when the next transfer window opens. Forward Lionard Pajoy and midfielder Marcelo Saragosa also had their options declined.
Ruiz, a former MLS MVP winner, started five times in his 13 appearances but he couldn’t recreate his former glory, failing to score a single goal in the league. Ruiz last played for Ben Olsen’s side on July 20 of this year, as Olsen preferred Conor Doyle, Dwayne De Rosario, and Chris Pontius up top to Pajoy and Ruiz since then.
What do you think of these reports? Do you see the Sounders struggling without Martins? Do you believe Pittsburgh is a viable MLS expansion location? Do you see Ruiz ending up with another MLS team next season?
Share your thoughts below.