Carrasco stepped up when team needed him most

The holding midfielder filled in admirably for the absent Osvaldo Alonso against the Philadelphia Union.

As a defensive midfielder drafted by the Sounders FC in the second round of the MLS SuperDraft in 2011, Servando Carrasco reveled in the opportunity to learn his craft from one of the best at his position in Osvaldo Alonso. When the Sounders added Shalrie Joseph over the offseason, Carrasco didn’t view it as falling further down the depth chart, instead seeing it as another opportunity to learn from one of the best around.

“I know that I’m playing behind arguably the best defensive midfielder and Shalrie has been arguably the best defensive midfielder in MLS history,” Carrasco said. “I’m just taking little things from their style of play and implementing it into my style of play. Those guys are phenomenal professionals and whenever I need advice they are very approachable. Even just by watching them play, I’ve learned so much in the last three months. I’m just taking that knowledge and experience and trying to apply it when I get that opportunity.”

His first big opportunity of the year came on Saturday against the Philadelphia Union. With Alonso missing the match for the birth of his second child and Joseph out of action with a hamstring strain, Carrasco was thrust into the starting lineup for the first time since July 4, 2012.

Appearances in every Sounders FC reserve game have helped him stay prepared, keeping him mentally and physically ready for the match, particularly two recent matches against the LA Galaxy and San Jose Earthquakes.

“We just always have to be prepared because so many things can go wrong. Guys can be injured. Guys can be suspended. You just have to be ready to step in,” Carrasco said. “I think having those two reserve games were crucial for me because it allowed me to be 90 minutes fit. Having said that, it’s just being patient and waiting for your opportunity and when you get that opportunity to take advantage of it.”

And while nobody can replace everything that Alonso can do on the field, the Sounders have found success with Carrasco in the lineup. They are now 4-2-4 in his 10 career MLS starts. A big part of that success may come from Carrasco playing his own game.

“I know what my responsibilities are with my position and that’s to win the ball back, to keep possession and to break up plays when I can,” he said. “I thought at times I did that well, but I think overall we could have won that game, so it’s a little disappointing.”

Alonso is expected to rejoin the Sounders in Kansas City for their match on Wednesday against Sporting KC. However, if he is not able to play, Carrasco has shown that he is at the ready.

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