With less than a week to go until #MLSisBack, clubs have finished their dress rehearsals and are focusing solely on matches this week. Unfortunately for some, injury question marks hang a dark cloud over those preparations and lineup decisions.
Here's a run-through of some of the key short-term injuries around the league ahead of Week 1.
After temporarily leaving camp to get hamstring tendinitis treatment, Lodeiro was back with his teammates in preseason ahead of the Seattle Sounders' Concacaf Champions League clash against Club Olimpia, though the Uruguayan was ruled out for leg one. No word yet on his availability for leg two, or the club's MLS opener on Sunday against Chicago Fire FC (3 pm ET | ESPN in US, MLS LIVE on DAZN in Canada), but the star midfielder was seen out on the training ground at Starfire Sports Complex on Monday morning.
Robinson missed Atlanta United's 1-1 draw against Motagua in CCL with a quadriceps strain, suffered in a preseason match against Leones Negros. Ahead of their match against Motagua, head coach Frank de Boer listed Robinson as "week-to-week." As of Monday, he has yet to return to full training and de Boer confirmed he will not take part in leg two against Motagua on Tuesday.
Philadelphia Union's breakout left back in 2019, Wagner hasn't gotten a start to his 2020 just yet, nursing an injury. Last week head coach Jim Curtin didn't 100 percent rule out Wagner for Philly's opening match against FC Dallas on Saturday (6 pm ET | MLS LIVE on ESPN+ in US, DAZN in Canada) though isn't expecting him to suit up after missing so much time in preseason.
If Wagner is unable to go, Homegrown left back Matt Real is a prime candidate to find his way into the starting XI.
When Alvarez went down in a preseason match, immediately signaled to the bench and exited the field on a stretcher, the worst was feared for the Mexico youth international. While he will be out for a bit, LA Galaxy head coach Guillermo Barros Schelotto provided an update on the player with some good news. Alvarez is expected to be out a minimum of two weeks with an ankle injury.
Last season's Newcomer of the Year winner with the New England Revolution, Carles Gil has yet to appear this preseason, though the club have been mum about a prognosis. Frank Dell'Apa reports in the Boston Globe that the injury is "in the foot area" though a club spokesperson told him it's "considered to be minor."
One to keep an eye on.
Paxton Pomykal, Brandon Servania and Bryan Acosta
Three key midfielders for FC Dallas, all three with some injury concerns heading into week one. None started the club's last preseason match and have been limited this winter.
Head coach Luchi Gonzalez sees the injury issues in an optimistic light.
“I prefer to look positive in that fact that guys will be getting opportunities and that’s important for our depth," Gonzalez said. "That’s going to allow us to have more resilience towards the end of the season.”
Gutierrez was limited to 30 minutes of action this preseason with a knock and head coach Peter Vermes will likely address the club's injury situation at a press conference on Wednesday, followed by Sporting Kansas City releasing their injury report on Thursday.
In the meantime, Gutierrez's limited availability has given ample opportunities for other midfielders on the squad, with Gael Kinda and Gianluca Busio particularly impressing in training, according to a club source.
The Colorado Rapids winger enjoyed a fast start to preseason before breaking his nose in a friendly against the Revs, requiring surgery to correct. Benezet is back in training but his availability is yet to be determined for the weekend.
Last season, joining Toronto FC over the summer, he had two goals in five regular season starts (eight appearances) then was a key cog in their run to MLS Cup.
Out with a "lower body injury" and considered "week-to-week" as of Feb. 14, no update just yet on Dwyer's availability for Orlando City SC. Tesho Akindele led the lines in Orlando's preseason win over San Antonio on Friday night.