Things were all smiles in Sounders FC training on Thursday as they returned from a day off to ramp up to their match on Saturday against the Colorado Rapids.
While the team relished the rare day off as they take on another busy stretch in the schedule, they also took pride in teammates Eddie Johnson and Osvaldo Alonso, who represented the Sounders in the MLS All-Star Game at PPL Park in Chester, Pennsylvania.
Johnson even netted the game-winning goal in stoppage time to lift the All-Stars to a 3-2 win over Chelsea.
“Obviously, he did well in terms of his run and getting into the space,” Sounders FC head coach Sigi Schmid said. “It’s good for him. Anytime a goal-scorer scores, no matter what the goal is, it’s good for him.”
Johnson played the final 30 minutes of the match while Alonso started and played 56 minutes, with Real Salt Lake midfielder Kyle Beckerman replacing him for the remainder of the match and providing the assist on Johnson’s goal. That should mean both players are available for Saturday’s match against the Rapids, while Beckerman and Vancouver Whitecaps center back Jay DeMerit will meet on Friday.
Alonso is second on the team in minutes played and has shown to be quick to recover after matches, so his extended time wasn’t a concern for Schmid.
“Ozzie has to play a lot of minutes. He’s pretty fit,” Schmid said. “We’ve found a way to manage him, we just have to manage him a little more carefully.”
Johnson and Alonso returned to Seattle on Thursday and are expected to be at training on Friday before the team departs for Colorado for their match Saturday.
Another pair of reasons for smiles on Wednesday though were the birthdays of Fredy Montero and Babayele Sodade.
A 22-year-old rookie forward, Sodade continues to rehab after knee surgery to repair a torn ACL during the Olympic qualifying this year.
Montero, meanwhile, is gearing up for the final 14 matches of the season after being named an inactive All-Star, voted by players in the league. It was the third time he had been voted to the All-Star squad.
“It was an honor to be part of that list. A lot of players want to be there and it was really nice to see my name on that list,” said Montero, now 25. “The players who were there deserved to play that game. They won the game and that’s good for MLS and MLS players.”