Let that sink in a bit. Over-the-hill DP #2 wants away from the team.
UPDATE: Apparently, the Sounders are confirming that Blaise Nkufo will not be in the starting lineup, but are denying that it was tied to an incident in training. We'll give you updates whenever we get them.
We're still trying to track down some more information, but Joshua Mayers of the Seattle Times is reporting that Blaise Nkufo will not be the starting lineup tonight for what is being called "disciplinary reasons." Mayers says the punishment steams from an incident during training, although it's unclear who else was involved in the incident.
Rather than speculate as to what may have happened, let's focus on what this means for tonight's game against the LA Galaxy. First off, this basically guarantees that O'Brian White will get his first official start in Rave Green. Back when he was acquired, the move was greeted with mostly antipathy. After all, he seemed to be stuck behind not just Nkufo, but also Nate Jaqua.
But several things have happened since then. First off, Jaqua has been much slower to recover from injury and did not appear in any preseason games. White has also been far more impressive in training than many of us expected. While he's yet to perform up to expectations in MLS, he has also been battling injuries throughout his career. Now, White seems to be fully healthy for maybe the first time since his junior year in college, and he's probably been the biggest surprise in preseason.
At least in the short term, the loss of Nkufo may not be a huge problem, as White seems capable of filling that roll, at least on a temporary basis. Going forward, it will be interesting to see what happens, as no one on this team has the goal-scoring resume of Nkufo. If this was an isolated incident, and there's no reason to think it wasn't, there's no reason to get too excited. But if this is an indication of something bigger, there's no telling what kind of effect this could have on the team.