TUKWILA, Wash. – Just as it seemed like the Seattle Sounders were getting a little healthier, it was learned on Wednesday that David Estrada – the team's leading scorer – broke his left foot and will miss eight to 12 weeks after undergoing surgery.
Estrada is tied with Fredy Montero for a team-high 12 starts in MLS games this season. The third-year player out of UCLA has earned starts at forward and both wide midfield spots, scoring five goals along the way.
“He’s had a great impact on us this year,” Sounders head coach Sigi Schmid said, noting Estrada suffered the injury during Tuesday’s scrimmage when Estrada was clipped from behind. “He always gives you that tremendous work rate when he’s on the field and we’re certainly going to miss that until he gets back onto the field.
“We just keep plugging away. I try not to dwell on the injuries and just focus on what we need to do.”
One of the first things the Sounders will have to do is determine who will travel for Saturday’s game against the Montreal Impact, a task Schmid noted is much easier now than it has been in the past months. Although Christian Sivebaek is expected to be cleared to play after suffering a concussion in the Sounders’ most recent Reserve League game, injured defenders Patrick Ianni, Leo González and Adam Johansson are still expected to be at least a week away from returning.
Among the players who could see increased playing time are forward Sammy Ochoa and midfielders Alex Caskey and Cordell Cato. All three players performed well during the Sounders’ recent US Open Cup games, with Ochoa contributing a pair of goals in a 5-1 win over the Atlanta Silverbacks.
Ochoa, who scored two goals in limited minutes late last season, has only played 53 minutes in MLS competition this season.
“It sucks that he’s going to be out for awhile, but hopefully he gets better and recovers quick,” Ochoa said. “You don’t want the opportunity like this, but Sigi is the one who decides who plays and I’m going to be there if he decides to put me in.”
Possibly working in Estrada’s favor is the fact that he suffered a similar injury to his right foot when he was in college, which could help in the recovering process.
It also helps that Estrada is among the team’s hardest-working players, an attribute that hasn’t changed even after his latest injury. Ochoa said he caught Estrada lifting weights in the gym shortly after he had undergone his X-rays.
“We said, ‘What are you doing? Get some rest, take a couple days off,’” Ochoa recalled. “He’s going to be back. I think he’s going to be back better than he was. We just gotta support him and be with him when we can.”
Jeremiah Oshan covers the Seattle Sounders for MLSsoccer.com and SB Nation