The Sounders FC was hit with a tough blow on Tuesday when David Estrada went down with a foot injury in the club’s 11v11 scrimmages.
On Wednesday, the club announced that Estrada would need surgery on a fractured fifth metatarsal in his left foot, keeping him out of action for 8-12 weeks.
“It’s not great news,” Sounders FC head coach Sigi Schmid said. “Hopefully everything will go well in the surgery and he’ll be back sooner rather than later. But it definitely means more playing time for some other people. Different people have to step up.”
Early this season, Estrada stepped in for the injured Eddie Johnson and scored the first goal in a 2-1 win over Santos Laguna in the first leg of their CONCACAF Champions League meeting, then added a hat-trick in the MLS season-opener, a 3-1 win over Toronto FC. He pitched in two more goals since to lead the Sounders in scoring this season with five goals in MLS play.
“He’s had a great impact on us this year,” Schmid said. “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. We have our fingers crossed that he’ll be back sooner.”
Johnson will likely see more playing time at forward, with Sammy Ochoa a likely candidate to see an increased role off the bench after his brace in Seattle’s third-round Open Cup win over the Atlanta Silverbacks on May 30.
It adds to the list of injuries that have stricken the Sounders, including goalkeeper Michael Gspurning, defenders Patrick Ianni, Leo Gonzalez and Adam Johansson, and midfielders Steve Zakuani, Alvaro Fernandez and Mauro Rosales. Even through those injuries, the Sounders have still managed to maintain a spot amongst the top teams in MLS at 7-3-3.
“We just keep plugging away. It was a lot easier this week determining the 18 that were going to travel, that’s for sure. And we have some guys that are rounding back into shape,” said Schmid, noting that Ianni, Johansson and Gonzalez are nearing returns on the defensive side. “I try not to dwell on the injuries and we just focus on what we need to do.”
In 2007, Estrada suffered the same injury to his right foot in his sophomore season at UCLA. He went on to earn honorable mention All Pac-10 honors with three goals in 14 games that season.
The Sounders will return to the MLS schedule on Saturday against the Montreal Impact after three weeks without a league match. The match will open Montreal’s renovated Saputo Stadium with television coverage on KONG 6/16 and the radio broadcast on 97.3 KIRO FM. Kickoff is set for 4:30 p.m. Pacific.