An MRI performed on Monday afternoon revealed light damage to the previously injured right MCL of Seattle Sounders midfielder Mauro Rosales, calling into question his fitness for either leg of the MLS Western Conference semi-final against Real Salt Lake. Rosales suffered the initial damage after a reckless tackle from DC United defender Daniel Woolard on September 17th. Rosales made his return to action against the San Jose Earthquakes on October 16th, coming off the bench and setting up a Sammy Ochoa equalizer in a match the Sounders would go on to win. Rosales made his first appearance in the starting XI since the injury on October 24th against Chivas USA but would be forced to leave the game after just five minutes following a late challenge from Chivas midfielder Ben Zemanski.
Coach Sigi Schmid described Rosales' status for Saturday's away leg of the playoff tie as "iffy" and "we'll see" for the return leg on Wednesday in Seattle. While not exactly surprising, the news is still a blow to a Seattle team that looked set to see one of the main catalysts for a fantastic season return to action just in time for the playoffs. That the injury occurred so early in a game with an irrelevant outcome may well be the most frustrating aspect of the situation for the team; had Rosales not been injured against DC United and did not need to regain match fitness and ensure that the chemistry built with his teammates over the course of the season was as sharp as possible before the playoffs, there's a good chance he wouldn't have been playing against Chivas at all.
The Sounders should still like their chances against a Real Salt Lake side that struggled mightily down the stretch. But they'll like them a whole lot more if Rosales is available for at least some portion of the tie.