Seattle's walking wounded in defense slowly mending

Leo Gonzalez, Seattle Sounders

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TUKWILA, Wash. – No segment of the Seattle Sounders team has been more impacted by injuries than the defense. Of the seven players who have made at least one start, four of them have missed multiple games with injuries.

As the Sounders get ready to enter yet another busy stretch of their schedule, it appears that some of those walking wounded are on the way back. Left back Leo González has returned to full training and Patrick Ianni could be healthy enough to at least travel for Saturday’s game against the Montreal Impact (7:30 pm ET; TSN 2 in Canada; MLS Live in US).

“I feel good,” González said through a translator on Tuesday. “Now I’m just focusing on regaining my physical stamina.”

Despite the constant backline mixing and matching – the Sounders have used nine different defensive quartets this year – Seattle head coach Sigi Schmid has pointed out that there hasn’t been any real rotation. For the most part, the changes in the lineup have been necessitated by injury, not based on form or a desire to rest players.

“Those guys had to do yeoman’s work,” Schmid said, pointing out that the two US Open Cup games featured the same defensive starters as the Sounders’ most recent MLS contest on May 26. Jeff Parke, who didn’t make his first start until the Sounders’ fourth game, has now played all 90 minutes of 12 straight games and is third on the team with 1,305 minutes played across all competitions.

The timelines on the other injured players is not quite as clear. Adam Johansson has not yet resumed full training, although he has been doing more fitness work lately. Michael Gspurning is still recovering from a hip injury that has kept him out for the last six MLS games and is at least a couple more weeks away from returning.

Just to add to it all, David Estrada went down with an unspecified ankle injury at Tuesday’s training. Estrada is the only Sounders player to start all 13 MLS games. The extent of the injury was not yet known.

Jeremiah Oshan covers the Seattle Sounders for MLSsoccer.com and SB Nation.