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Joe Nicholson

Notes & Quotes: Alonso makes return in Sounders 1-0 win over Houston

Osvaldo Alonso made his first appearance of the year Saturday night, playing 73 minutes in Sounders FC’s 1-0 victory over the Houston Dynamo.

A four-time Team MVP and three-time MLS All-Star, Alonso sat out the entire preseason and the first three matches of the regular season while recovering from groin surgery. His injury occurred during the second leg of last year’s playoff series with FC Dallas.

Head Coach Sigi Schmid said the plan was originally for Alonso to play about 60 minutes against Houston. He kept the 29-year-old in the game for a bit longer – partly due to Gonzalo Pineda’s red card – and Alonso nearly scored on a breakaway in the 65th minute.

Here’s what Schmid, Alonso and teammate Tyrone Mears said after the match about the central midfielder’s first appearance of the season.

Sigi Schmid:

“In this situation we felt that he was at least 45 minutes fit, so I think it’s a lot easier for him to warm up and start the game than to come in off the bench. And if he somehow suffered a setback, we would have to burn another sub. So we said, ‘Let’s go ahead and start him, and if something goes wrong, then we can make the sub.’ And he came through, from an injury perspective, very well.”

“Ozzie has such good instincts when he sits deep in midfield. He reads the play really well, and he is quick to anticipate and react. In the second half, even when he was running out of gas, he almost got a goal.”

Osvaldo Alonso:

“I’m happy. It’s been a long time since I’ve played. To win this game, even with 10 men, I feel so happy. I can’t describe this moment for me.”

“The game is always a battle. Unfortunately we got a red card, and we had to figure out a way to play a man down. But we did that. So I’m happy for the result, and I’m really happy to come back.”

Tyrone Mears:

“It was good to see Ozzie back. I was told he’s the master on the turf, and he knows how to play on it. It was great for him to come back. I don’t think they planned for him to play so long, so he came back strong.”