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Health concerns mount for Sounders after loss

Seattle Sounders defender Chad Marshall, seen here battling Toronto FC forward Jozy Altidore, was one of three players injured Wednesday during the Champions League quarterfinals. (File, Associated Press)

The Sounders went into the 2018 season without the help of their dynamic homegrown star forward, Jordan Morris, and now, they’re losing more players to injury.

In a 3-nil loss to Chivas in the Champions League quarterfinals, Sounders striker Will Bruin left the game just minutes into the first half, suffering a startling blow to the head. Nico Lodeiro was an unexpected scratch, suffering a midfoot sprain. Then, before the end of the first half, they’d lose former Defender of the Year Chad Marshall to an eye injury, after his face met the back of a Chivas player’s head. You could see Marhsall’s eye swell as he walked off the pitch.

This, on top of Kelvin Leerdam recovering from injury and Victor Rodriguez still out.

It’s a very long MLS season, and I suppose, in a game where injuries are expected, you’d rather them in the opening weeks of the season and not the end. But the Sounders, who hope to make it the MLS Final for a third consecutive year, would have had an easier time last season if they were able to host the final, rather than have to travel. And these early games, particularly against teams like expansion LAFC and the awful Minnesota United, should be a good way to earn some early points to land a better shot at hosting a final. But with these injuries mounting, will they be able to capitalize early in the season?

The next Sounders game will be held this Sunday afternoon at CenturyLink against FC Dallas.

Reasons to Worry: Depending on the severity of injury to Bruin and Lodeiro, the Sounders could be left relying on Clint Dempsey to score goals. They’re already lacking speed with Morris sidelined, so who will help connect with Dempsey? And is Dempsey ready to go 90 on Sunday after this midweek game?

Reasons for Hope: It is still early in the season and while early points are obviously ideal, they’re not wholly necessary in the grand scheme of things. If Henry Wingo remains in form, and Lamar Neagle is able to go 90, Dempsey will have some good support.