TUKWILA, Wash. — Although he has practiced all week, the Sounders will not have the services of Spanish midfielder Victor Rodriguez for this Saturday’s matchup against the Colorado Rapids.
The Sounders finished training Friday and Rodriguez made it through the session with no apparent setbacks. However, he has not played since July 6 when he aggravated a hamstring injury. His return to the team has been delayed by one issue or another related to his rehabilitation. After missing Saturday’s game, Rodriguez will have missed 10 straight and will have played just 36 percent of the available minutes this year.
That said, a team source indicated this issue now was as much about having the ability to call up an an additional Tacoma Defiance player to the first team roster as it was about Rodriguez’s health. The Sounders announced that they had signed Shandon Hopeau and Nick Hinds to short-term first team contracts, taking advantage of MLS’s hardship policy when there are less than 14 outfield players available for a game.
Holding Rodriguez out does allow the Sounders to give him one additional week of rest and training, which potentially sets him up for return to the team for a home game against New York Red Bulls next weekend. It also gives the Sounders an additional fully fit player for the road trip, as Rodriguez was always unlikely to be able to go 90 minutes.
After training, head coach Brian Schmetzer said Hinds fills a need, while Hopeau provides some offensive punch for the team.
“We went from a club that was spoiled rotten with three starting level left backs to zero,” Schmetzer said. “Nick’s decision was pretty easy to make. The other one (Hopeau) was a little harder because there’s been some guys on Defiance that have done well.
“We could have had a few other attacking players involved in the mix, but I think Shandon has done well. He earned that right and gives us another attacking option if I need one.”
With the Rapids also missing four players to international duty — including their top two scorers — Schmetzer emphasized that this is a game the Sounders can get a result from.
“We need to collect points,” Schmetzer said. “Every game in MLS you have a chance to win home or away.
“Don’t kill yourself by looking at the standings, but look at the standings.”
Alex Roldan also returned to full training this week and is available for the matchup against the Rapids. ... Given Rodriguez’s absence, the Sounders will be limited to just 16 or 17 players, depending on how many goalkeepers they roster.