TUKWILA, Wash. – In 2011, the Seattle Sounders’ season was derailed down the stretch when playmaker Mauro Rosales suffered a pair of knee injuries.
Their 2012 season got off to a similar start when it was revealed that Rosales’ latest injury – diagnosed as a knee sprain – will keep him out of Friday's match against the Houston Dynamo (10 pm ET, NBC Sports Network), and possibly longer. Sounders coach Sigi Schmid confirmed on Tuesday that the veteran will spend some time recovering.
"We've just got to see how it responds," Schmid told reporters. "It could be a couple weeks; it could be a little more. We’ll have to see how it goes the next few days."
The good news is that it is not the same injury that kept the Argentine out of the MLS Cup Playoffs last year. Rosales was in good spirits Tuesday, but did not train with the rest of the team and walked with a slight limp during a cold day at the Starfire Sports Complex.
Looking ahead to Friday, the Sounders have a few players that could step in and replace him, with the most likely candidates being the do-everything Roger Levesque and newcomer Christian Sivebaek. Schmid also mentioned the possibility of moving Álvaro Fernández over to the right and bringing in Marc Burch at left midfield.
In any case, Schmid believes the Sounders will miss the creative presence of Rosales, who was an MVP candidate in 2011 after a five-goal, 13-assist season.
"You don't want to lose players at any time and certainly he's a very important player to us because of the creative impulses he gives to the game," said Schmid. "We're going to miss that part of it and it puts a little more of a burden on the other guys."
Fernández has helped pick up the creative slack early on, participating in the buildup of all three goals last weekend against Toronto FC. Even with the preseason trade of Lamar Neagle, Seattle have a deep midfield.
Brad Evans believes the team will be able to cover Rosales’ absence.
“I think we’ll be OK,” he said. “Obviously, he’s an important part of our team, but so is everybody else. If we rely on one player, we’re going to find ourselves in a bad position throughout the season.
“It’s an extremely long season, even more so this year,” Evans continued. “To say one player makes our team isn’t fair to the rest of us, so obviously we’ll fill that gap the best that we can.”