Forward Paulo Junior will be out probably another month with his hamstring injury, coach Jason Kreis told ESPN 700 Radio today, a development that puts further strain on an already short-handed team.
Three of RSL's top four forwards will be missing when it plays Seattle at Rio Tinto Stadium on Saturday, with Fabian Espindola the only one remaining.
Alvaro Saborio and Arturo Alvarez already have left the team for international duty in the upcoming Gold Cup, leaving Espindola all but certain to make his first start since RSL lost the CONCACAF Champions League final to Monterrey a month ago. Espindola missed time after that game because he took the loss so hard, and later developed a hamstring problem and back spasms.
He had a “decent week” of recovery last week, though, Kreis said.
With injuries and absences making things difficult, Kreis said the team will have to consider using up top three other players who have played forward in the past — presumably midfielders Will Johnson, Andy Williams and Jean Alexandre — as well as maybe switching formations against the Sounders, in its effort to break out of a funk that has seen it score just once in its last four Major League Soccer games.
That last part seems like a bit of a long-shot, though, considering how dedicated Kreis has been to the 4-4-2, and how poorly things worked out the last time he switched formations, in that road loss at FC Dallas last summer that snapped a 10-game unbeaten streak.
Kreis joked about re-signing with the team as a player to help fill the void at forward, and said he would "see how negotiations go" this week.