TUKWILA — The sight of Clint Dempsey, Eddie Johnson and Obafemi Martins on the practice field Wednesday was a positive sign for Sounders FC, though their roles for this weekend’s road game against FC Dallas are yet to be determined, according to coach Sigi Schmid.
Dempsey suffered a sprained shoulder in Sunday’s loss in Portland. Johnson and Martins were unavailable due to groin injuries.
Getting its stars healthy has become an increasingly pressing matter for struggling Seattle. The team has lost three games in a row for just the second time in franchise history, and a playoff berth is still not secure.
“We wanted to make sure (Dempsey) avoided contact, but he feels better carrying the arm,” Schmid said Wednesday. “It’s basically a pain type of thing. Eddie feels better, as well. … Oba did a little bit, and we’ll check on him (Thursday).”
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Dempsey, who played through the injury for over an hour against the Timbers, said his shoulder still hurts. An X-ray revealed there was no fracture, just swelling.
“It’s definitely uncomfortable,” he said. “I’ve been trying to tape it up and trot on with a brace and see if there’s a way I can keep pushing through it to be available for the weekend.”
Other news throughout the roster was mixed.
Steve Zakuani suffered a setback against the Timbers as he has been dealing with nagging issues stemming from sports-hernia surgery earlier this season. The midfielder wasn’t able to practice Wednesday.
Elsewhere, defender Zach Scott is set to return after being suspended the past two games and midfielder Brad Evans will join the team Thursday in Dallas after duty with the U.S. national team.
Evans played 56 minutes in Tuesday’s 3-2 road win against Panama in World Cup qualifying.
Gspurning reacts to benching
The bench was admittedly an unfamiliar and uncomfortable place for Michael Gspurning on Sunday.
After allowing nine goals in his last two games, Seattle’s No. 1 goalkeeper was replaced in the starting lineup by Marcus Hahnemann against the Timbers.
“Of course I’m not happy with the situation,” Gspurning said, “but … I don’t want to make a comment on the decision. It’s up to the coach. I just can say I’m proud of what I’ve done in these two years to now, with the personal success I’ve had and with the team. This stuff didn’t change at all.”
Gspurning was an MLS Goalkeeper of the Year finalist in 2012, his first year in Seattle. He is one shutout from tying the franchise record of 11 in a season.
It didn’t look that way in a 5-1 loss in Colorado on Oct. 5 followed by a 4-1 loss to Vancouver four days later.
“Did I win these games? No, of course I didn’t,” Gspurning said. “But did I lose the games myself? I don’t think so either.”
• The USMNT’s win in Panama kept Mexico’s World Cup hopes alive, but that’s not how Johnson would have preferred it. “In a perfect world, I wouldn’t want to see Mexico go to the World Cup,” he said. “Just being honest.”
Joshua Mayers: 206-464-3184 or firstname.lastname@example.org