[MLS INJURY REPORT]Forward Eddie Johnson is questionable for the first leg of the Western Conference semifinal series against Real Salt Lake on Friday, but the Seattle forward is expected to be available for next week’s second game.
A strained hamstring suffered by Johnson near the end of the first half of Seattle’s 1-0 loss to Los Angeles in the regular-season finale Sunday prompted an MRI exam of the injury.
“We wanted to go easy with him today and then see where he’s at tomorrow,” Schmid told the Associated Press. “It’s slight. It’s not nearly as bad as we had feared it might be. There’s an outside chance on Friday and for sure the second game shouldn’t be a problem.”
Johnson’s return to MLS after a frustrating spell in Europe provided 14 league goals for the Sounders, which finished third in the Western Conference behind RSL and Supporters’ Shield winner San Jose. His sharp form earned a callup to the U.S. national team after a two-year absence and he repaid head coach Jurgen Klinsmann with a two goals and an assist in qualifying victories over Antigua and Barbuda and Guatemala earlier this month.
Sammy Ochoa replaced Johnson against the Galaxy and could get the start in his stead, though Steve Zakuani and David Estrada are also in contention for the spot. The Sounders are trying to advance past the first round of the playoffs after failing to do so in each of their first three MLS seasons. Last year’s quest was hampered by the absence of playmaker Mauro Rosales, who stayed questionable throughout a two-game series that Seattle lost to RSL.
“Certainly, we missed Mauro and if Eddie can’t play, we’ll miss him but other guys have to step up and do the business,” Schmid said.