Sounders defender Nouhou absent for the first game of the playoffs

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TUKWILA – Sounders defenseman FC Nouhou will be sidelined for the club’s MLS playoff opener on Tuesday due to health and safety protocols. The term is a catch-all for reasons such as the need to quarantine due to high-risk behavior related to COVID-19 to contract the virus or other illnesses.

Nouhou was on international duty with his Cameroon national team for the World Cup qualifiers earlier this month. He appeared to have injured his shoulder in the second of two games, but texted Sounders coach Brian Schmetzer on his way back to the club to tell him he was fine.

The converted center-back started the season strong in his new role and was voted in for his first MLS All-Star Game. But he suffered an adductor injury during a previous international selection and hasn’t been as consistent along the backline for the Sounders.

The No. 2 seed Seattle welcomes the No. 7 seed Real Salt Lake at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday at Lumen Field for the playoff opener. The winner will face the No. 3 seed Sporting Kansas City in a Western Conference semifinal game on November 28.

The Sounder AB Cissoko replaced Nouhou in the past. Schmetzer could also move his back line to call on veteran center-back Shane O’Neill to close the gap.

The Sounders will have a healthy Xavier Arreaga. The center-back was called up early for his Ecuadorian national team due to an apparent injury, but took part in full training on Sunday at Starfire Sports in Tukwila.

Rave Green co-captain Nico Lodeiro was also able to join his squad for training portions. He missed most of the season with two knee operations. Schmetzer is expected to feature the central midfielder in the matchday roster against RSL.

Sounders winger Jimmy Medranda suffered a setback with his hamstring injury and is questionable for Tuesday’s game. Forward Jordan Morris, who came back from an ACL tear, could play long minutes against RSL.


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