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Updated Thursday, November 15, 2012 at 11:01 PM

Sounders' painful waiting game for Galaxy rematch may have gain

By Joshua Mayers
Seattle Times staff reporter

TUKWILA — Following a tough loss, the Sounders have often said the sooner they play again, the better.

Safe to say this has been one long week.

"Definitely when you have a game like that like we had on Sunday, you'd like to play sooner," said coach Sigi Schmid, whose team faces a 3-0 deficit to the Los Angeles Galaxy in the Western Conference final.

A positive to having a full week's preparation is the opportunity to get a couple starters back in the lineup. Midfielder Mauro Rosales and defender Leo Gonzalez are each in the final stages of recovery from hamstring strains, and both hope to be available for Sunday's second leg at CenturyLink Field.

Rosales has been making gradual steps after his injury in the first leg of the conference semifinal against Real Salt Lake. He was close to being ready for Sunday's series opener against the Galaxy, but hasn't returned to full training this week.

Gonzalez practiced Tuesday and Wednesday (the Sounders took Thursday off). His return would be particularly helpful following the season-ending suspension to Marc Burch for using a gay slur in the Real Salt Lake series.

Game fitness is a concern with Gonzalez, however, having missed the past six games.

"Even having him available off the bench would be something that could help us," said Schmid. "He's an experienced player and he wants to get out there. He matches up well with (Mike Magee and Landon Donovan) and those kinds of players, so having him back would help."

Sounders finalists for three awards

Sounders FC's Michael Gspurning is a top-three finalist for MLS Goalkeeper of the Year and Newcomer of the Year, the league announced Thursday. Forward Eddie Johnson, who set a franchise record with 14 goals in the regular season, is a finalist for Comeback Player of the Year, an award he won in 2007 with Kansas City.

Winners of postseason awards will start to be announced next week.


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