Short-handed Sounders welcome lowly D.C. United (Jul 19, 2017)
As the Seattle Sounders try to manage their short-handed attacking situation against D.C. United on Wednesday night at CenturyLink Field in Seattle, they may look at the opposing roster and know things could be worse.
While Seattle strikers Clint Dempsey and Jordan Morris are with the United States national team at the CONCACAF Gold Cup, third-choice striker Will Bruin's six goals are still two more than anyone has for D.C.'s league-worst offense.
One of the league's most influential midfielders, Nicolas Lodeiro, is also available, as is midfielder Cristian Roldan, who made an early return from U.S. coach Bruce Arena's Gold Cup squad.
So, when the Sounders (6-7-6) take the field for the first time in two weeks against the Eastern Conference's last-place team, there should be no excuses.
"The team is always ready," Lodeiro said to the Seattle Times on Monday. "We've had some days to rest, which we needed. It's true that we have some guys who are injured and others with their national teams, but that's what we have, and we've got to be prepared to win."
The one benefit of D.C.'s struggles is that it hasn't had to deal with many international absences.
However, goalkeeper Bill Hamid is still away with Team U.S., and he may be as influential as they come for United (5-11-3), having won the MLS Goalkeeper of the Year award in 2014.
Backup Travis Worra didn't have Hamid's sharpness in D.C.'s last game, a 4-2 loss to FC Dallas that extended United's away losing streak to five matches. Worra has made only seven saves while allowing seven goals in three league appearances this season.
Meanwhile, attacking midfielder Luciano Acosta seems to be United's only consistent offensive threat, scoring four times from a position that ideally would see him play the role of provider.
And this week, D.C. cut ties with one attacker, Jose Guillermo Ortiz, who scored once in 16 games after he was signed on loan in the offseason from Costa Rican team CS Herediano.
"We want to thank Jose for his contributions to the Black-and-Red and wish him the best of luck," GM Dave Kasper said in a statement.
Coach Ben Olsen and others have insisted the team will make more offensive additions in the current summer transfer window. For now, Deshorn Brown seems the obvious starter up front as he looks for his first goal since he was signed from a lower-division team last month. He hasn't scored in MLS since 2014.