Sounders might open season with injury problems
Defender Patrick Ianni, a presumed starter for Sounders FC, is expected to miss four to six weeks after suffering a right foot fracture.
Seattle Times staff reporter
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TUKWILA — News that Sounders FC defender Patrick Ianni could miss the start of the season with a fracture of his right foot was bad enough.
That the injury came at arguably Seattle's thinnest position made it worse.
Ianni was hurt during a seemingly harmless jumping test Saturday, and a four-to-six-week expected recovery time puts his status in doubt for a March 2 opener against Montreal. The 27-year-old was a presumed starter as a central defender alongside Jhon Kennedy Hurtado following the trade of the team's two-time defender of the year, Jeff Parke, to Philadelphia in the offseason.
Sounders coach Sigi Schmid said the team will look at internal options to replace Ianni for now but would be open to signing outside help.
"We can't just focus on what's going to happen at the beginning of the season or what's going to happen in our first series of games," Schmid added. "We want to make sure the team is right for the long haul and the team is right at the end of the season."
Ianni missed the end of last season with a calf injury.
Other central defenders in camp are veteran Zach Scott, first-round draft choice Eriq Zavaleta and non-contract invitee Ashani Fairclough, who is in his first year out of college.
• The Sounders honored columnist Steve Kelley, who will soon be leaving The Seattle Times after 30 years, after practice Tuesday with a personalized jersey.
• Seattle is close to finalizing a preseason friendly against a Mexican team, according to Schmid, to help with preparation for a CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinal against Mexico's Tigres UANL on March 6 and 12. The game likely would be played in Tucson, Ariz., where the Sounders take preseason camp Feb. 11-23.
• Reign FC is expected to announce news on player signings and a jersey sponsor in the next few days. A supplemental draft Feb. 7 will help fill out the team's roster. Training camp starts March 11, and the NWSL season starts the weekend of April 13.
• The team confirmed Tuesday night that forward Amy Rodriguez, a U.S. international, is pregnant and will miss the 2013 season.
Joshua Mayers: 206-464-3184 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
On Twitter @joshuamayers