Sounders midfield lynchpin Alonso nearing return for Seattle

Sounders midfield lynchpin Alonso nearing return for Seattle

The Sounders are a different team without Alonso in the lineup. It looks like that will change on Saturday with the no.6 appearing set to return.

Sounders FC @ San Jose Earthquakes
July 13, 2013, 7:30 pm PT; Buck Shaw Stadium
TV/Radio: KING 5; KIRO Radio 97.3 FM; KOMO2 (Spanish); La Gran D 99.3 FM (Spanish)

Over the past two seasons, Osvaldo Alonso has been a steadfast puzzle piece for Sounders FC head coach Sigi Schmid. Whenever he has filled out his lineup sheet, he was able to plug the Cuban sensation in the middle of midfield and build around from there.

Over the last seven matches, though, Alonso has been much more sparse in the Seattle lineup. He started against FC Dallas on May 18, but a groin injury knocked him out of action in the 31st minute. He missed the next match, but then was ruled fit to play against Chivas USA on June 1. In that match, he lasted 21 minutes before a thigh injury sent him to the sidelines again.

Now, after missing the last four matches, he is set to return as Sounders FC heads to the road to face the San Jose Earthquakes on Saturday in their final regular season match against their Western Conference foes.

“It was frustrating to be out almost six weeks,” Alonso said. “But I came back and I’m ready to go Saturday, so I’ll step to the field to give the best for my team.”

The recovery time was made all the more frustrating by the two injuries occurring in rapid succession, though the quad injury was unrelated to the prior groin injury.

“I was ready to go. It was a different injury,” Alonso said of the quad strain. “It always happens in soccer.”

Thursday was the first time Alonso was able to go through a full training session and Schmid will still wait until Friday when he sees how he reacts to the day’s workload before making a final decision, but signs point to a return for the 2012 MLS Best XI defensive midfielder on Saturday.

To say that he would be a boost to the team is an understatement.

Although the team has gone 4-3-0 in the last seven matches, they also suffered three harrowing losses with him out of the lineup – a 4-0 defeat to the LA Galaxy and 2-0 losses to Real Salt Lake and the Vancouver Whitecaps FC.

Playing without him was unfamiliar territory, as Alonso missed just six matches in 2011 and 2012 combined. His return is a welcome one for Schmid and the team.

“Ozzie’s a good player. Anytime you can get a good player back into the fold – he’s an important player on our team as well – that helps us,” Schmid said. “Having him available in midfield makes a big difference.”

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