The Korean came off in the first half after suffering an injury to his knee in Sunday’s 3-2 loss against Sporting Kansas City. He pulled up in the 38th minute after chasing down a long ball over the top to Kelyn Rowe. The Sounders announced on Twitter postgame he is experiencing lateral knee pain and will be under assessment in Seattle this week.
With Chad Marshall’s retirement last week, the Sounders are now short on center backs that have rapport with one another. Roman Torres is the only center back currently healthy that has more than one appearance in the rave green. Both offseason addition Jonathan Campbell and newly acquired Designated Player Xavier Arreaga each have one appearance with the team.
Arreaga replaced Kim after the injury and saw out the game on the backline with Torres, and Sounders head coach Brian Schmetzer felt the Ecuadorian did a good job filling in for Kim on short notice.
“You saw what he brings,” Schmetzer said. “He'll need to learn the physicality of our league. On the ball, he was very steady and a calming influence back there. [He was] able to connect passes from that position -- passes forward. I liked what I saw.”
Schmetzer lamented the loss of possession to Sporting KC as a reason for the defeat, citing heavy legs becoming a result of having to constantly defend and try to chase the ball back.
Midfielder Cristian Roldan felt Arreaga’s presence in the game and ability to pass out of the back helped them regain some footing in the second half, that eventually led to their comeback attempt.
“He's composed on the ball was able to play out of the back,” said Roldan. “He gave us a little bit of that pause that we needed [and] a little bit of that composure in the back. He was lights out both defensively, but especially on the ball he gave us that extra edge to maintain possession. Especially in the second half when things got a little difficult and people were tired, he was able to dribble out of the back.”
Arreaga is the obvious replacement for Kim in the short term if he needs time to recover, but the Korean isn’t the only player they’ll need to replace next weekend.
Playmaker Nicolas Lodeiro picked up a yellow card in the second half of the match for a late kick out at Benny Feilhaber, which means he’s suspended for Saturday’s match against FC Dallas due to yellow card accumulation. Schmetzer wasn’t too concerned, though.
“Life happens,” Schmetzer said. “Next man steps up. We'll have [Victor] Rodriguez back by then."