In the preseason, Servando Carrasco was often described in the same light as Osvaldo Alonso.
Like Alonso, Carrasco is a technically sound midfielder whose moxie comes from his passion for defending.
It was believed that Carrasco would learn a lot playing behind Alonso in the Sounders FC’s depth charts and could fill in for Alonso in a pinch. In recent weeks, they have instead found themselves paired together in the midfield.
Alonso, who missed ten matches in his first two MLS seasons because of injury, is Seattle’s only field player to start all 11 matches and has yet to miss a minute of action. So in Carrasco’s three starts, he has slotted alongside Alonso in the middle of midfield.
Although the combination has provided a defensive blockade in the midfield, the duo have yet to find the cohesion to provide an offensive spark from that role as well. That will come, Carrasco says, with experience playing together and not through drastic alterations to the core playing styles of either player.
“I don’t think we really change too much, but we have to complement each other,” said the 21-year-old rookie from Cal. “We are two technically sound players, so it’s just a matter of finding a balance between attacking and defending. As we spend more time together, it’s only going to get better.”
For Carrasco, the starting role has rarely meant a full week of preparation to be a starter. Last week, it wasn’t until Erik Friberg sprained his ankle on Friday that Carrasco was brought into the starting group. However, he was fully prepared to step into the starting lineup because of his approach to each match and each training session.
“You have to control the controllables and the two things I can control are my attitude and my work ethic. I just got myself mentally prepared for the task at hand,” he said. “You go through very intense trainings, but half that battle is mental. Going through that whole week and not knowing may have helped me because I may have prepared a little stronger. It was an unfortunate injury to Erik, but when they told me to be ready to step in, I was ready.”
With each match, Sounders FC head coach is seeing more and more from Carrasco.
“Every experience out there makes him a better player for the next game,” Schmid said. “He’s got a lot of character. He’s got a lot of determination. But if you know Servando’s history, it’s pretty obvious why that is. He’s a guy who’s worked hard to accomplish the things he has. There’s a lot of character and a lot of discipline and determination there. He shows that on the field. He wants to win and he wants to succeed.”
With injuries plaguing the midfield, it is possible the Carrasco will again be in the mix to start on Saturday against Sporting Kansas City.