It doesn’t look like the Seattle Sounders will be getting any injured players back before the upcoming international break, after all. Although Nicolas Lodeiro had effectively been declared out already, there had been hope that Josh Atencio would be able to play in last week's game against Atlanta United. But Atencio apparently suffered a setback, didn’t feature in that game and now is also likely to be held out this weekend.
“It probably doesn’t make that much sense to risk someone ahead of a three-week break,” Sounders GM and President of Soccer Garth Lagerwey said during his segment on Sounders Weekly.
Lagerwey did leave the door open for Atencio to return in time for the Austin FC match, but sounded more optimistic about getting him some time with the Tacoma Defiance during the break. He also suggested fellow youngsters Reed Baker-Whiting, Danny Leyva, Ethan Dobbelaere and AB Cissoko could also feature for the Defiance, who have three games between June 5-16.
“It’s all about getting the whole squad reps and getting them up to speed,” Lagerwey said.
Lagerwey also reiterated that the Sounders are inclined to take their time with Lodeiro’s inflamed knee.
“We have to let it play out,” he said. “I don’t think anything has changed. We’re trying to get him to the point where he can sustainably return. When he gets back and he feels comfortable, and we feel comfortable that it’s not going to be one game and then another couple games out, he’ll get back in there.
“So far, the team continues to perform at a high level. Certainly, we need Nico but we need Nico back in a sustainable way, where we know once he’s back he’ll be able to perform week in, week out, especially on the back half of the season when things get congested.”