Nicolás Lodeiro has only played about 30 minutes this year. He missed the first two games with a quad strain, played against the LA Galaxy and was expected to be fully available for Sunday’s match against the Portland Timbers.
He ended up being left off the roster with what the team classified as “knee pain” in the pregame injury report. Afterward, head coach Brian Schmetzer wasn’t able to provide much clarity and said he didn’t know if it was the same knee he had tendinitis in at the start of last year.
“We’re doing everything we can to remove the inflammation,” Schmetzer said. “He’ll be day to day.”
Lodeiro was again listed as questionable in the latest injury report this week, joining Jimmy Medranda (left hamstring). Josh Atencio (right quad strain) was listed as out.
Speaking to Sounders Weekly, GM Garth Lagerwey said Lodeiro was “trending in the right direction” but also said the team is more worried about making sure he’s fully fit before rushing him onto the field.
“He’s recovering, so we’re trending in the right direction,” Lagerwey said. “I wouldn’t make a prediction on Wednesday one way or another. It continues to be a work in progress.
“It’s more important we get it right than we get it fast. We want to make sure we’re taking care of Nico and setting him up to succeed for the entirety of the season. In particular in a season where we’re back-loaded — I think it’s 22 games after the summer break — we need to be cognizant of that. We really want to build our team up, not just Nico, so that we can be resilient by August.”
Most years, Lodeiro’s questionable status would be cause for a good deal of consternation. While the Seattle Sounders would surely rather have Lodeiro available than not, they’ve actually managed quite well this year. In addition to tying their franchise record for best-ever start with 10 points through four matches, the Sounders are +7 in goal-difference without Lodeiro on the field.
In Lodeiro’s place, the Sounders started Josh Atencio the first two games and then Kelyn Rowe in the two most recent matches. Rowe would presumably be given a third consecutive start on Wednesday if Lodeiro remains unavailable.