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Oniel Fisher injury leaves a tough choice at left back

Another hamstring injury may mean a return for Remick or a spot start for Gonzalez.

Jennifer Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

Oniel Fisher had to stop practicing today after hurting himself during a drill. Sure enough, it appears the defender is the latest Seattle Sounder to suffer a hamstring injury this season.

Fisher's injury was understandably overshadowed by Chad Marshall's potentially more dangerous one. Fisher taking a seat could even be purely a precaution. (Sigi would only say "we'll see" after practice). But both injuries unfortunately raise lineup questions for Sunday's match against the LA Galaxy. What seemed sure to be a first-choice lineup (just yesterday we only had Erik Friberg's neck kink to worry about) now has question marks.

At center back, it's almost certain that Zach Scott and Brad Evans will repeat their starting positions from last week's Sporting Kansas City draw, though they'll have a much tougher task facing the Galaxy's star forwards.

If Fisher can't play, though, it offers Sigi Schmid a distinct choice at left back. Dylan Remick is the younger, more mobile option who seems to have fallen out of favor. Leonardo Gonzalez is the veteran one-on-one defender whose game doesn't offer much offense.

Whoever takes the pitch will be matched up with the speedy Gyasi Zardes and overlapping A.J. DeLaGarza, while helping to contain whichever of Robbie Keane or Giovani Dos Santos decides to occupy the right side of the LA attack.

Dylan Remick emerged as the serviceable but quiet starter at the left back position early in the year. He doesn't have any standout defensive skills, but got the job done when required and is a decent set-piece defender. His top-end speed is good, but after several months of starts Remick still didn't look very dangerous with the ball once he did break past his mark downfield. He was supplanted in the lineup by Oniel Fisher without much fanfare in August, and has hardly seen the bench in Major League Soccer play since then. However, he does offer some speed and youthful endurance.

Leo Gonzalez has settled into a backup and spot-starter role this year, often coming in late in games to maintain a lead. Sounders fans know what they will get from Leo: smart, effective positioning and one-on-one defense, and an aging body. His last start came in the July 25 loss to Montreal Impact, where he came out of the game in the 73rd minute. Against the Galaxy, it's likely Leo would play very conservatively, although he has the tactical awareness to choose a moment or two to join a counterattack if LA get caught forward. Other than that, the 34-year-old can't risk getting too many steps from Zardes, who would always be looking to beat Gonzalez for speed.

Schmid has been known to look to his veterans in tough moments, especially in rivalry games. If Fisher is even questionable, Gonzalez is a good bet to start. If so, you can also wager Dylan Remick will be sitting on the bench in case Gonzalez can't go the full 90. They should both start their hamstring warmups right now.

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