Analysis

Like new signings: 5 injured players who could save their teams' seasons

It's an old cliché, but these injured MLSers might just be more useful than a new arrival.

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USA TODAY Sports-Chris Nicoll
USA TODAY Sports-Chris Nicoll

The MLS summer transfer window is upon us, and in true silly-season style, we’ve already seen a blockbuster trade. Rumors swirl about teams making big-money acquisitions, and even bigger headlines are expected before the window closes.

But in MLS, the most frugal moves are often the ones that make the biggest difference. And for some teams, their big summer addition may not come from abroad, but from their treatment room.

Here are five players on five teams who could serve as major reinforcements simply by returning to the lineup:

Sebastian Lletget

A stream of injuries and international call-ups has meant that, for parts of this MLS season, the LA Galaxy lineup has looked closer to the club’s USL team than the powerhouse that American soccer fans are accustomed to.

But the Galaxy’s most devastating loss this season has been do-everything midfielder Sebastian Lletget, who suffered a Lisfranc (foot) injury during an appearance in a U.S. national team World Cup qualifier against Honduras in March. At the time, it was reported that he would be out between four and six months, putting his return somewhere between now and September.

LA has desperately missed Lletget since his injury, and the team has yet to find answers in several midfield spots that he could occupy.

The reported signing of Jonathan Dos Santos may plug one of the holes in central midfield. If the Galaxy can hang on until Lletget returns, few teams in the West will want to play a healthy and reloaded LA side in the playoffs.

Patrick Mullins

USA TODAY Sports-Jonathan Dyer

USA TODAY Sports-Jonathan Dyer

Current MLS basement-dweller D.C. United is in desperate need of someone to make an impact this summer.

Despite a recent three-goal outburst (which somehow still translated into a 3-4 loss to the Seattle Sounders), United has still scored the fewest goals in the league. D.C. has scored just 18 times on the season, averaging less than a goal per game, and the team has somehow managed to be shut out in a whopping 12 of its 21 matches.

Perhaps the player D.C. needs most to help turn its season around is striker Patrick Mullins, the same man who helped jump-start its offense last season. When the club acquired Mullins from New York City FC in July 2016, he immediately made an impact.

The American forward scored in his first start and put together a run of eight goals and two assists in his 12 starts to finish the season. His contributions helped improve an anemic offense and take United from below the red line to the fourth seed in the Eastern Conference playoffs.

Mullins has had two bouts with injury already this season, and has only managed five starts. But the striker is expected to be healthy soon, and he’ll be returning to a team in desperate need of help.

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