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Originally published Monday, May 24, 2010 at 6:23 PM

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Sounders FC defender Jhon Kennedy Hurtado might miss rest of season

Sounders defender Jhon Kennedy Hurtado suffered a knee injury in Saturday's loss to San Jose, and was placed on injured reserve. He must sit out at least six games, but he could be out the rest of the season.

Seattle Times staff reporter

Wednesday

Boca Juniors @ Sounders FC, 7:30 p.m., KONG-TV

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TUKWILA — A hard-luck season got worse for Sounders FC on Monday.

Two days after a hair-pullingly frustrating 1-0 loss to San Jose, the team announced stalwart defender Jhon Kennedy Hurtado has torn the anterior-cruciate ligament in his left knee and could miss the rest of the season.

Hurtado, 26, has been placed on injured reserve and must miss at least six games per league policy. The extent of the injury won't be known until the Colombian undergoes surgery to repair the tear, but coach Sigi Schmid predicted Hurtado's earliest possible return would be at the end of the season.

"It's unfortunate," Schmid said. "Kennedy has been a great defender. Like I said, I think one vs. one he is one of the top couple of defenders in this league. We are certainly going to miss him."

Hurtado, an MLS all-star and a finalist for MLS Defender of the Year in 2009, played all 90 minutes in each of his nine starts this season. He was injured during a collision with Earthquakes forward Chris Wondolowski in the closing minutes of Saturday's loss and had to crawl off the field as teammates tried desperately to tie the score.

Seattle co-owner and GM Adrian Hanauer said the team was "shattered" by Hurtado's injury but also has personnel to replace him.

"We're deep at center back," Hanauer said. "Obviously having signed Jeff Parke now will provide some additional cover and quality there."

Parke, who joined the team last Tuesday, is a likely choice to fill in but isn't the only option. Patrick Ianni, who has started as a defensive midfielder the past two weeks, has experience as a central defender. Reserve defenders Zach Scott, Tyson Wahl and Taylor Graham have also played there before.

"If there was one position where I think we're more than capable of covering for, it's going to be the center-back role," said goalkeeper Kasey Keller.

The injury, however, provides another question in a Sounders FC season without many answers for a 3-4-3 start.

Schmid said he might use Wednesday's friendly against Argentine club Boca Juniors as a tryout of sorts at central defender. Seattle's players, who expressed sympathy for their fallen teammate, are also aware of the opportunity.

"You've got to be on your toes now a bit more, because there's definitely a chance you could play," Parke said. "It's important to be focused and be ready, no matter what the task is. Now that there's a spot open, it's going to be a battle to see who can win that spot."

Said Ianni: "Guys have got to step up, just like last year. I think we all plan on doing that. At this point, we need to."

Joshua Mayers: 206-464-3184 or jmayers@seattletimes.com

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