Updated Apr 27, 2012 - 4:40 pm
Sounders well rested for challenging two weeks
It begins with a Saturday night match against the improving Fire at Toyota Park in Chicago.
"It's a tough stretch of games, including L.A., Salt Lake and Chicago," Sounders coach Sigi Schmid. "I think it's something we're ready for. It was great to have a weekend off to allow our injuries to heal. That's really important as we approach these games."
Schmid is excited about the return of play-making midfielder Mauro Rosales from a knee injury. Defender Adam Johansson is finally over his hamstring issues. Because of the Saturday-Wednesday-Saturday games, Schmid plans to work them back in gradually.
Seattle is off to its best start in club history, earning 10 points in five MLS outings. The defense has been stellar while the offense struggles to find the back of the net. Fredy Montero and newcomer Eddie Johnson have yet to score a goal.
The Sounders are perfect against Chicago, including last October's victory for the U.S. Open Cup. Schmid sees a talented, confident Fire opponent.
"The coach, Frank Klopas, has had a full season now to instill the style he wants them to play," Schmid said. "Pavel Pardo (Mexican National midfielder) has now gone through a preseason and he's very important to the organization."
Seattle's coach is most concerned about two speedy goal scorers from Ghana. Patrick Nyarko and Dominic Oduro led Chicago to a 3-2 victory in its last game against Toronto.
The Fire just signed Brazilian midfielder Alex Monteiro de Lima to shore up the attack.
The Sounders return home for a huge May 2 game against David Beckham and defending MLS champion L.A. Galaxy. Seattle will open the upper level of CenturyLink Field for that match, as well as Portland, Vancouver and the July friendly against Chelsea.
Matt Johnson hosts the pregame show at 5 p.m. Saturday. Ross Fletcher and former Sounders goalkeeper Kasey Keller have the call at 5:30 on 97.3 KIRO FM.
Follow Bill Swartz, 710 ESPN Seattle
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