The Fire suffered two, significant blows to its back line.
Goalkeeper Sean Johnson and defender Eric Gehrig will both miss the remainder of the year, the club announced Tuesday afternoon. Johnson, who missed time earlier this season with minor injuries, tore the labrum in his left shoulder and will still train with the team on a limited basis, per club release. Gehrig sustained a navicular stress fracture, which will require surgery on Friday.
"It's unfortunate to lose Sean and Eric at this point in the season, but these types of things happen in soccer," interim head coach Brian Bliss said in a statement. "Both players have been battling through pain over the last few weeks and they're tough guys, but it was important to us that we make sure they get a chance to heal up and be ready for the start of the 2016 season."
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Both were held out of the Men in Red's 1-0 defeat to Orlando City SC over the weekend and did not dress after developing worrying signs in training the previous week.
With five games remaining, Jon Busch, who deputized for Johnson against the Lions, will get the starting nod with Alec Kann next in line. Johnson started 21 matches and played a crucial role in keeping the team in games with sprawling saves time and again.
After developing a predominantly competent partnership alongside captain Jeff Larentowicz at centerback, Gehrig's injury forces Bliss to reconsider his defensive depth. Ty Harden will be a likely shoe-in for Gehrig, with Daneil Cyrus as another viable option.