International duty requires Sounders to "dig a little deeper" in games ahead

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The Concacaf Gold Cup is just around the corner, leaving the Sounders without key players for upwards of six matches.

“When you're a part of a good team, you will more than likely have guys going away with international duty,” said goalkeeper Stefan Frei. “That's a sign of a good squad, of good individual players.”

Veteran players Jordan Morris and Cristian Roldan will be representing the U.S. in the Concacaf Gold Cup tournament while Alex Roldan will be competing with El Salvador. Defender Xavier Arreaga will also be out with a pair of international friendlies with Ecuador.

While the four players will be missed, the team remains optimistic about the upcoming slate of matches.

“It won't be an easy stretch, but I feel like to win a championship you can play with 11 players and an even deeper squad, and I think we'll dig a little deeper for the next few upcoming games,” said midfielder Albert Rusnák.

Digging a little deeper also means stepping into different positions in order to fill the gaps, and Frei believes the team has the ability to do exactly that.

Cody \[Baker has] played in multiple roles, Kelyn \[Rowe has] played multiple roles, so that always helps if you can style a guy in multiple positions, because he's been there, done that,” said Frei. “And that kind of helps if you need to plug a hole somewhere.”

Homegrown Players Reed-Baker Whiting, Josh Atencio, Obed Vargas and Dylan Teves will also likely see more action on the pitch over the next few matches.

And after a marathon stretch of games this past month, a bye week leading up to next Wednesday’s match against LAFC (7:30 p.m. PT; Watch on MLS Season Pass on Apple TV, 93.3 KJR FM, El Rey 1360AM) has been crucial to rest, recover and get ready for the upcoming battle.

“The good thing is we have a little bit of time to prepare, and we know what our availability is in terms of the next game,” said Frei. “And so it's putting that time in right now and making sure that we are as prepared as we can be come Wednesday, that we have our ducks in a row, and we're gelling.”

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