The Sounders' injury woes are getting worse before they get better. The latest bad news is that Jhon Kennedy Hurtado will miss at least the next six weeks with an ACL injury. In actuality, he's probably going to miss most of the regular season, possibly won't be ready until the playoffs and could be out well into the offseason, depending on what doctors find during surgery.
The injury occurred while he was chasing down a ball after Kasey Keller had vacated the net in order to join the attack in Saturday's loss to the Earthquakes.
Hurtado had been the most consistent backline player for the Sounders this season, playing all 90 minutes of the nine games he played and was coming off a standout performance against the Red Bulls. He was coming off an MLS debut season in which he was a finalist for Defensive Player of the Year, made the All-Star team and even played a game for AC Milan.
It was not entirely clear what the immediate plans for replacing Hurtado would be.
"It’s a big loss," Sounders GM Adrian Hanauer said. "Jhon Kennedy has been a solid defender for us for a year and a half now and a great individual on the team. So we’re definitely shattered to lose Jhon and his presence on the team, his one-on-one defending, his quality. But we’re deep at center back. Obviously having signed Jeff Parke now will provide some additional cover and quality there and we will move on. There are injuries in soccer, in sports. We can’t hang our heads and worry about it now. We have to go forward and make the best of a bad situation."
Hanauer also said that the IR move provides the team roster flexibility, but no cap relief. Any plans to bring in a player from outside the organization are essentially unchanged, he said, noting that the team had been exploring various undisclosed options prior to Hurtado's injury. I took that to mean a trade would be the most likely immediate scenario for bringing in a new player. Nothing Hanauer said, though, made it appear as if anything was imminent or even on the viewable horizon.
Aside from putting the newly acquired Parke directly into Hurtado's center back position, the next most likely option would seem to be moving Patrick Ianni back from his current position of central defensive midfielder.
Ianni said he did not know what coaches ultimately planned to do, but was quick to point out that he feels much worse for Hurtado, his family and the team than he is optimistic about the increased opportunity.
"It's not a good feeling," Ianni said. "You hate to have that happen to him, he's a good guy. As far as the team, guys have to step up just like they did last year.
"We need to focus on what we need to do the rest of the season and bonding together as a team. Things have been tough right now and we're either going to come out of it as individuals and probably get shipped different places or we come together as a team. I know we all believe that we have the talent and group to do it here."