The Seattle Sounders host the Colorado Rapids Saturday to begin the second half of the season. KPLU sports commentator Art Thiel says the team is far from full-strength.
In addition to earlier injuries, the Sounders lost three players during their 1-0 loss to San Jose last Saturday: midfielder Brad Evans, defender Djimi Traore and goalie Michael Gspurning.
"It's just been a mess," Art said. "And these injuries and this tumult have really compromised the season."
The Sounders are especially hurting at goalie, with Gspurning possibly out for Saturday's match against Colorado. Their second- and third-string goalies are also injured. So they had to call up a fourth-string goalie, Andrew Weber.
'Acme of Mediocrity'
Not that the Sounders were doing that well before all of these injuries. At the midpoint of the season their record is 7-7-3. That puts them in seventh place in Major League Soccer's Western Conference.
Art calls that the "acme of mediocrity, " but he says all is not lost.
"They still have games to play - meaning if they win those games they'll be back up in the playoff hunt," he said. "But, right now, it doesn't look pleasant."
Adding insult to injury
In more bad news for the Sounders this week, Sounders star forward Eddie Johnson was called back to the U.S. National team for the knockout rounds of the CONCACAF Gold Cup. Art says he could be out for two games.
But there's some good news as well. Midfielder Osvaldo Alonso will not miss Saturday’s game or sustain a fine. An independent review panel has rescinded the red card he received in last weekend's match against San Jose.
We've got two warnings to Sounders fans who are going to Saturday's match. First, it's at 1 p.m. now; it was originally scheduled for 8 p.m.
And you're advised to arrive early due to increased security measures at CenturyLink Field. Security will be "wanding" every fan who enters the stadium.
The new security measures were first used at a Sounders game on July 3 and caused big problems.
"The wanding security system did not work as anticipated," Art said. "There were a lot of people who missed the first 15 or 20 minutes of the game because the Sounders didn't have enough security people. Hopefully they get that fixed this time."