The Seattle Sounders open their 2018 schedule with a potentially tricky CONCACAF Champions League Round of 16 first-leg visit to Santa Tecla FC Thursday night, and they appear to have traveled to El Salvador without four to five potential starters.
On Wednesday Sounders beat reporter Niko Moreno posted photos of the Sounders’ training session in El Salvador, citing a local source to confirm that Roman Torres, Kelvin Leerdam and Osvaldo Alonso are not with the squad and thus highly unlikely to take part in Thursday’s match.
Leerdam’s availability was already in major doubt due to an ankle injury, with Jordy Delem or recent signing Jordan McCrary possible replacements at his right back slot. Veteran holding midfielder Alonso had previously been reported to be dealing with a quadricep issue; when he was absent last season, the Rave Green typically adapted with some combination of Cristian Roldan, Nico Lodeiro and/or Gustav Svensson at the base of midfield.
Meanwhile Torres, a key defensive cog at center back, is said to be nursing muscle soreness of an unspecified nature and could be spelled by Svensson or Tony Alfaro. Seattle and Santa Tecla kick off at 10 pm ET; the match will be streamed live on UnivisionDeportes.com and will air on Galavision on tape delay.
UPDATE (2/22, 3:30 pm ET): Moreno is now reporting that attackers Clint Dempsey and Victor Rodriguez also didn't travel to El Salvador with the team, limiting head coach Brian Schmetzer's options further up the field as well. With those absences, Will Bruin looks the likeliest choice to lead the line, with Jordan Morris, Magnus Wolff Eikrem and Lodeiro in support.