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Absent Victor Rodriguez, Sounders looking thin at attacking midfield

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The winger has a (you guessed it) hamstring strain.

Max Aquino / Sounder at Heart

TUKWILA, Wash. — The official news that Seattle Sounders midfielder Victor Rodriguez has a hamstring strain is perhaps not surprising given the Spaniard’s exit from Seattle’s 2-0 victory against Vancouver July 21. Still, Rodriguez’ injury and the departure of midfielder Magnus Wolff Eikrem, waived by the club late last week, may complicate the options at attacking midfield for the club.

Rodriguez had to wait a long time before contributing to the Sounders in 2018. A series of knee injuries, including arthroscopic surgery in early May, meant that the winger had to wait until June 9 to make his first start of the year for the Sounders. Since that time, the club is 3-2-3 in matches that Rodriguez has started, in part thanks to his speed and ability on the ball that have opened up the left side of the offense for Seattle.

Sounders head coach Brian Schmetzer would not offer a timeline for Rodriguez’s return but hinted that the midfielder may miss multiple matches while he recovers.

“Still a hamstring strain,” Schmetzer said when asked about Rodriguez’s status. “Whenever he can get full into training, that will be your indicator that he’s close. Right now, he’s still just in partial but he’s shown to be a pretty resilient kid.

“That will be updated daily if I’m here. When he is ready, he will play.”

Without Rodriguez or Eikrem, and with Handwalla Bwana still recovering from a midfoot sprain, the Sounders have a short list of available options in the wide positions. Henry Wingo and Alex Roldan have largely been bit players for the club in 2018, while Harry Shipp has struggled to equal Rodriguez’s production.

While rumors are swirling that the club is closing in on additional attacking players in the summer transfer window, don’t be surprised if Schmetzer elects to ask Cristian Roldan to play in the attacking band with Gustav Svensson and Osvaldo Alonso in the holding midfield while the club waits for Rodriguez to get healthy.