Osvaldo Alonso and Clint Dempsey have officially been ruled out for the Seattle Sounders' match against FC Dallas on Saturday. Neither Tyrone Mears nor Chad Marshall are even listed as questionable on the team's game guide.
None of this comes as a huge shock and provides at least some clarity to the lineup decisions facing Sigi Schmid, although still leaves us guessing.
The one obvious opening is at forward, where Lamar Neagle has been filling in for Dempsey throughout the preseason and as recently as Tuesday's friendly against Club Tijuana. Neagle has looked comfortable there and has long stated that he feels as though it is his more natural position.
The potential downside of such a move would be starting two new players at outside mid, with Marco Pappa also due to miss the match for international duty. The top candidates to fill in would seem to be Aaron Kovar, Cristian Roldan, Andy Rose and possibly Chad Barrett, although he seems more likely to start at forward if he starts.