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Key players missing as Sounders, Impact battle

(Image: Twitter/SoundersFC)

The international break is already creating a hardship for the Seattle Sounders and Montreal Impact.

The Impact, who will play host to the Sounders on Wednesday in their final game before the break, called up midfielder Luca Ricci from their USL club, the Ottawa Fury, on a short-term loan by using MLS’ extreme hardship rule.

An MLS club can sign a player on a short-term contract from an affiliated club if it has fewer than 14 outfield players available for a game.

With midfielder Ignacio Piatti out two to three months with a knee injury and four players — Canadian midfielder Samuel Piette, Canadian defender Zachary Brault-Guillard, U.S. defender Daniel Lovitz and Finnish defender Jukka Raitala — heading off to play for their national teams, the Impact had 13 outfield players at practice Monday.

“I don’t remember that (happening before),” Impact coach Remi Garde said. “In Europe when it’s the case, you always have four, five young guys that are playing regularly in a reserve that are used to training with you or used to playing sometimes off the bench. Or when you play in (cup games) you can incorporate them in your squad list, which isn’t the case here because of the rules.”

The Impact (7-7-3, 24 points) will be playing their third consecutive home game. They defeated Real Salt Lake 2-1 and took a 3-0 loss to Orlando City.

Garde said he hopes being short-handed will help pull the remaining players together.

“Normally the players that are playing in this situation, they could also feel that they have to do a little bit more to find more resources against the adversity,” Garde said. “This is a feeling that I hope we will be able to have.”

The Sounders (7-3-5, 26 points), who are coming off a 2-1 defeat at FC Dallas in which they conceded two own goals, will have 10 players away on international duty, including leading scorer Raul Ruidiaz of Peru and playmaking midfielder Nicolas Lodeiro of Uruguay.

That means teenagers Danny Leyva and Alfonso Ocampo-Chavez, both members of the U.S. U-17 national team, could make their Sounders debuts.

“Some guys are really excited to play because they’re going to get the chance,” Sounders coach Brian Schmetzer said.

The Impact are 4-2-1 all-time against the Sounders, including 2-1-1 at home.

REUTERS/Field Level Media

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