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Originally published July 12, 2013 at 8:43 PM | Page modified July 12, 2013 at 11:33 PM

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Sounders are hurting heading into game vs. Earthquakes

Injuries are piling up again for the Sounders heading into Saturday’s road game at San Jose, but the return of three-time team MVP Osvaldo Alonso will be a massive boost.

Seattle Times staff reporter

Saturday

Sounders @ Earthquakes, 7:30 p.m., Ch. 5

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TUKWILA — The question was simple: Sounders FC coach Sigi Schmid was asked how his team’s health was ahead of Saturday’s road game at San Jose.

“OK,” Schmid answered.

An immediate correction followed: “Not OK.”

It was a more accurate response. As many as eight players are expected to be unavailable for Seattle, which takes on the struggling Earthquakes at 7:30 p.m.

Many of those injuries stem from last week’s trip to Vancouver, starting in Saturday’s 2-0 loss to the Whitecaps. Forward Obafemi Martins was kicked hard in the calf in the second half, a knock he hasn’t been able to recover from this week, and fellow designated player Shalrie Joseph aggravated a calf injury that has been bothersome since his February arrival.

The Sounders’ depth was then devastated in an MLS Reserve League game on Sunday as four players came out unable to practice this week. Goalkeeper Marcus Hahnemann and midfielder Andy Rose suffered hamstring strains. Midfielder Philip Lund tore a tendon in his foot and midfielder Alex Caskey wasn’t able to shake a lingering ankle injury.

Add in older injuries to goalkeeper Josh Ford (knee surgery) and midfielder Steve Zakuani (sports hernia surgery), and more than 28 percent of the Sounders roster is injured.

The end result for Saturday is a familiar one.

“It’s a new lineup again, most likely,” said Schmid, who has fielded a different lineup in all 21 games this season, including the U.S. Open Cup and CONCACAF Champions League.

All the changes aren’t bad, however.

The trip to San Jose should also see the long-awaited return of midfielder Osvaldo Alonso, who has been out four games with a thigh strain. Before that, he had to overcome an adductor strain, and the stats show how much he has been missed.

Seattle hasn’t allowed a goal in the last 467 minutes with Alonso in action. On a broader scale, the team is 59-27-36 all-time when he plays (1.75 points per game) and 7-11-4 when he doesn’t (1.14).

The last 14 goals allowed by the Sounders, dating to March, have come without Alonso on the field.

No wonder he’s a three-time team MVP.

“(It’s been) frustrating being out like almost six weeks,” Alonso said, “but I’m ready to go Saturday, to step on the field and give the best for my team.”

Notes

• San Jose forward Chris Wondolowski, the reigning MLS MVP, is serving with the U.S. national team for the CONCACAF Gold Cup and will be unavailable. A pair of Earthquakes with local connections — defender Ty Harden (a University of Washington product) and forward Mike Fucito (a former Sounder) — are out injured.

• Local hip-hop tandem Macklemore & Ryan Lewis will headline a five-day fan festival in Kansas City, Kan., leading into the July 31 MLS All-Star Game. The July 29 concert will be streamed for free on the league website.

• Reign FC signed midfielder Emily Van Egmond, a co-captain of the Australian national team. Seattle, unbeaten in five games, hosts Washington in the NWSL’s first nationally televised game at 5:30 p.m. Sunday on FOX Soccer.

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

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