So we're looking at Peralta and Gallardo being ready for action by August 7th, at the earliest, and they'll probably need a couple of weeks to get back into something resembling game shape. Given Gallardo's injury history, I'd budget at least another week or two on top of that for him. I seem to remember the last time we trotted down this particular herniated road, it was Namoff taking the plane to Germany. He was back within a month, so fingers crossed . . .
Now assuming 3-4 weeks for Peralta, and 4-6 weeks for Gallardo, that works out to:
(1) Both will miss the pair of Houston games, KC on August 2nd, and most likely the trip to the Swamp on August 9th.
(2) Peralta stands an outside chance of being available for at least a limited contribution in the Open Cup semifinal on August 12th.
(3) I seriously doubt that we'll risk Gallardo on the Open Cup, but he might be ready for some minutes away to Chicago on the 16th, though the Fire's penchant for thuggery probably nixes any chance of that.
(4) Hopefully, after the Chicago game (major finger-crossing as we'll be embarking on twice-a-week match scheduling again), both will be back into the swing of things.
So that means we'll have a less-than-ideal defensive arrangement for, at minimum, three MLS matches and possibly the Open Cup semi as well. That's worrying to say the least given what we saw last night. I'm thinking that the strategy for the next month should be to move Martinez inside and Burch back out to the left, as I place much more trust in Martinez' positioning and reading of the game. It hurts to lose his attacking prowess, but Burch's crossing and powerful left should compensate a little.
As far as Gallardo is concerned, I'm looking squarely at Fred. Central Attacking Mid is supposed to be his natural position, and the times I've seen him play it, he's been pretty good. Quaranta should be getting back to fitness and taking over on the right, while Thompson, Cordeiro, or Mediate (if he doesn't go the way of Gros) should be adequate (not ideal, mind you, but adequate) to cover Fred's absence on the left. Of course, if the new Argentine right mid works out, we can push Tino to the left. Other options might be Tino in the middle, or Tino/Doe up top with Jaime in the middle, though I don't think that would work as well as it has in SuperLiga--MLS is more about the running than the passing.
So, what do you think? Do we have enough cover to keep the good run of league form alive, or are we going to struggle mightily over the next month to month-and-a-half? Should defensive cover take precedence over the goalkeeping nightmare? Should we get used to seeing that uncomfortable, Sweaty Soehn Sideline Shuffle (see: last night's match) as he descends further and further into Marlon Brando territory (. . . the horror . . .)?
Heck, maybe the German docs won't have to break out the scalpel, and this post is all a bunch of idle speculation, but I'm wired to expect the worst case scenario, so I'm just doing what comes naturally.