Remember back in the pre-season when we were praising Adrian Hanauer, Sigi Schmid and Chris Henderson for the depth that they had assembled on the roster? When we talked about a team that had nearly 20 players who could start at the MLS level? Those seem like long lost days now, but this is not because the depth vanished, well except for that Blaise Nkufo guy. That's one down.
The depth we talked about has been destroyed by injuries and injury recoveries that diminish overall fitness. Those injuries and lack of fitness have effected tactics, substitutions, formations and even Reserve Team roster availability. Yesterday there were four guest players on the Reserves roster because Seattle couldn't field a full roster from its own players.
Steve Zakuani's double break of the lower leg will never be forgotten. O'Brian White's significant issue with a blood clot will be addressed for an unknown time with blood thinners and so can not play competitive sports until he is off those drugs. That's two more.
Two players are available to play 90, but they certainly aren't healthy. Both are playing with a cast or brace - Fredy Montero and Taylor Graham. On the opposite end are players that recovered from health issues but are not yet fully fit in Nate Jaqua, Mike Fucito and Pat Noonan. That's five more.
Then there is the situation of the somewhat injured. Those guys that have had relatively minor issues recently with hamstrings, groins, ankles, and quads. This set of injuries has occurred to players who are all attack minded midfielders as Brad Evans, Mauro Rosales and Erik Friberg are out for a short, but indeterminate time. Another three.
Seattle Sounders FC has been decimated by injuries, but this does not mean they are not a deep team. It is precisely because of their depth that they have been able to play some decent soccer and get a few results. The worst part of it though is that Seattle no longer has the pieces to trade for immediate help. Their options are left to players within the USSF system's lower levels, and it remains doubtful that one or two players from the NASL or USL Pro are going to make a difference coming into MLS.
Long term the ability to add a significant player (DP or max contract), as well as a secondary addition, during the Summer Transfer Window will help, but that time is 60 days out. Probably the best news is that the shorter term injuries should be resolved by the time the US Open Cup and CONCACAF Champions League start play. But these next dozen or so MLS matches will be a strain on the roster, but the depth is precisely why the Sounders will be in position to make a late season run and deep pushes in the non-league competitions.