WASHINGTON, D.C. — There was one very notable absence from Saturday’s training session that could have a significant impact on the Seattle Sounders’ chances of getting a result today, to say nothing of their chances of advancing through the MLS Cup playoffs.
Designated Player Nicholas Lodeiro did not travel with the team and will not feature for the Sounders against D.C. United with what the team described as a lower back injury. Lodeiro is believed to have suffered the injury in the 27th minute when he was taken down by Michael Barrios near the touchline in the Dallas defensive area. A foul was called on the play, though no card was given by referee Drew Fischer. Lodeiro was able to continue and finish the game.
Lodeiro has been very durable for the Sounders, since being acquired from Boca Juniors and signed as a Designated Player on July 27, 2016. He has played in 27 of 31 games this year with the four games missed due to international duty. He recently celebrated his 100th game played for the Sounders, reaching that milestone in a little over three seasons.
The Sounders did consider outfitting Lodiero with a protective device such as a flak jacket, but with the team in the middle of three game in eight days and with the prospect of a cross-country commercial flight looming, the decision was made to allow the midfielder to rest for 10 days, in hopes of having him ready for a pivotal game on the road versus the San Jose Earthquakes a week from today.
Lodeiro’s absence will leave a considerable hole in the midfield as the Sounders look to get a result after a disappointing 0-0 draw Wednesday at home versus FC Dallas. The Sounders’ depth will be tested without Lodeiro or Xavier Arreaga, who is suspended for the match. The Sounders will have their two other Designated Players available for selection, as both Raul Ruidiaz and Victor Rodriguez made the trip.
Even with Lodeiro’s absence, the Sounders face a DCU side that has been uneven at best this year and is also dealing with injuries. Ola Kamara is suffering from a hamstring injury and appears unlikely to play. Goalkeeper Bill Hamid missed Friday’s training with an illness, but returned to practice Saturday and should start. However DCU is riding a two-game winning streak, including a victory at the Portland Timbers on Sunday.
As for Lodeiro’s prognosis, the team is hopeful that he will be available for the game versus San Jose next Sunday, but back injuries are notoriously difficult to treat.