Midfielder Erik Friberg did not train on Monday after suffering an MCL strain in his right knee over the weekend, the latest setback for a Seattle Sounders team already dealing with a host of early-season injuries.

Friberg suffered the injury in the 14th minute of the Sounders’ 2-1 loss at Real Salt Lake on Saturday, when he went in for a tackle on RSL’s Jordan Allen. Friberg received a yellow card for the challenge and was immediately hobbled by the collision, and had to be immediately subbed out in favor of second-year midfielder Cristian Roldan.

The game was Friberg’s first since he took a blow to the head in the Sounders’ matchup against Club America on March 2. It’s unclear how much time he’ll miss with the latest injury.

“We don’t really know how severe it is,” Schmid said, “or how long that might take.”

Roldan moves forward as the expected starter on the right side of the midfield after he played there in Friberg’s absence during the team’s MLS season opener against Kansas City on March 6. Roldan appeared in 22 games as a rookie in his first year out of the University of Washington in 2015.

Schmid said the injury concerns are not as bad as initially feared, however, for striker Nelson Valdez. The Paraguayan international went down late in Saturday’s loss with a thigh injury after a collision with an RSL player and later gingerly walked off the field with ice strapped to his leg, but Schmid said Monday it’s not as bad as initially expected. He also said that even if Valdez can't play against Vancouver on Saturday, the team will insert a young backup in place and stick with the 4-3-3 formation.

"We believe in what we're doing," he said, "and we're gonna stay with it."

Homegrown forward Jordan Morris is healthy after colliding head-to-head with RSL defender Chris Wingert on Saturday, and goalkeeper Stefan Frei is expected to resume training on Wednesday after missing the game with elbow inflammation suffered late last week.

Captain and center back Brad Evans continues to recover from the shoulder injury he suffered in the season opener, and will work on his fitness training this week.



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