After an injury-plagued and disappointing start to 2018 for the Seattle Sounders, there is a glimmer hope on the horizon: Osvaldo Alonso is "ready to go."
Alonso, the 32-year-old defensive cog in the Sounders' midfield, has battled a quad injury since last September. Outside of a 16-minute substitute appearance against the Vancouver Whitecaps in the MLS Cup Playoffs, Alonso has missed the past 14 competitive matches.
"It's been a while," Alonso said after training on Wednesday afternoon. "I'm very happy to be back. [I am] ready to go and ready to play for the team again."
The team is ready for his return, too. Alonso is the club's most tenured player — he is the last remaining piece from the inaugural squad in 2009 — and his tenacious, bulldog style of play has been missed in the midfield. From the Western Conference Championship and MLS Cup last season to this year's rocky journey through CONCACAF Champions League and the start of another MLS campaign, the Rave Green have competed without the club's all-time leader in matches played and minutes.
"It's hard when you're injured and outside the field, but it is what it is," Alonso said. "Everything happens for a reason, you've got to look forward. Now I'm back to training so that's more important that I'm back to training and ready to go."
While the club won't see Jordan Morris in 2018 and Víctor Rodriguez is still on the mend, Alonso's expectant return gives the team a much-needed boost. Kelvin Leerdam made his season debut against FC Dallas on March 18, but then received a red card against the Montreal Impact on March 31. It was the club's third ejection in three MLS matches this season.
"I think we've had a bad start," Alonso added. "Three red cards in the first three games is not good for us, but we've got time. We've got time to come back, play better and try to find a way to finish with 11 players first and try to win games."
The Sounders return to action against Sporting KC on Sunday, April 15 (1 p.m. PT; ESPN, Youtube TV, 950 KJR AM, El Rey 1360AM).