Sounders FC @ Sporting Kansas City
May 8, 2013, 5:30 pm PT, Sporting Park
TV/Radio: KONG 6/16; THIS-TV (KOMO 4.2), La Gran D 99.3 (Spanish)
Whenever Osvaldo Alonso is absent from the lineup, as he was Saturday in a 2-2 draw with the Philadelphia Union, the Sounders miss him.
He is the three-time team MVP and a 2012 MLS Best XI selection and has been rock steady for the Sounders in the midfield, particularly over the last two years as he has missed just five starts in league play.
Alonso had very good reason to miss the trip to Philadelphia, though, as his wife gave birth to the couple’s second child on Friday night. After just 24 hours away from his newborn daughter Paulina, Alonso echoed the sense of yearning expressed by the team.
“I miss her a lot,” Alonso said after rejoining the Sounders at training in Kansas City on Tuesday as they prepared to meet Sporting Kansas City on Wednesday night at Sporting Park. “But I’m very happy to be here with the team.”
On Saturday, Servando Carrasco filled in capably for Alonso, leading the team with 61 touches while completing 74-percent of his team-high 46 passes. However, bringing Alonso back to the team adds a whole new dynamic.
In his five MLS appearances this year he has been a disruptive force in the midfield, averaging 4.2 tackles, 3.2 clearances and 4.2 interceptions while gaining possession for the Sounders 12 times per game. His 89.8 touches per game also lead the team while he has completed 88.7-percent of his 353 passes.
Now back with the team, the Sounders are getting their best player back on the field at an ideal time as they are playing their third straight road game while in the midst of a stretch of three games in eight days that concludes Saturday against the San Jose Earthquakes at CenturyLink Field.
“Ozzie’s an important player to our team. He’s got fresh legs going into the game,” Sounders FC head coach Sigi Schmid said. “Hopefully he was able to get some sleep because I know when you have a new child, sometimes sleep is not a thing you get a lot of in those first few days.”
For as much as he wants to spend time with his growing family, Alonso was also thrilled to be a back on the field for training on Tuesday and looked sharp as he gears up for a big game against Sporting KC. And he just may have a bit of extra motivation for the match, as well.
“I’m happy to be here. It’s the first game after my daughter is born. I have to play good for my team and for her,” he said. “I’ll do my best to win because we need the three points.”