Seattle Sounders captain Osvaldo Alonso returns, brings “steadying influence” to midfield

The Honey Badger is back.

For the first time in 2018, Seattle Sounders captain Osvaldo Alonso made an appearance as a second-half substitute in a 2-2 draw with Sporting Kansas City at Children’s Mercy Park on Sunday. It was his first action since coming on as a sub against the Vancouver Whitecaps in the first leg of the 2017 Western Conference semifinals.

“I’m very, very happy to be on the field and playing football again,” Alonso said. “It’s tough when you’re sitting there and watching the team for so long, but I’m happy to be here. I hope I can keep doing it.”

Alonso has finally recovered from a nagging quad injury that caused him to miss the final six regular-season matches last year. He said he is slowly working his way back to 100 percent and is improving his fitness.

Even just having Alonso’s presence on the field did wonders for the Sounders’ morale on Sunday. Five minutes after Alonso entered in the 68th minute, Cristian Roldan, who moved up to the No. 10 role, gave the Sounders a 2-1 lead and their first advantage of the season.

“He’s just a steadying influence,” Head Coach Brian Schmetzer said. “He’s got a little bite there in the middle of the park, so that was a positive.”

Added Roldan: “You see his tendencies and how good he can be and how he affects our team in a positive way. We’re happy to have him back and hopefully he can get a little fitter and play some 90 minutes.”

Though brief, Alonso’s outing was productive and encouraging. He completed 25 passes at a 95-percent completion clip, had four recoveries and two interceptions.

As far as his next steps are concerned, he’s focused on doing whatever he’s called upon for to continue to help the Sounders earn positive results.

“You’ll have to ask Brian [Schmetzer],” Alonso said of his timetable back to the starting lineup. “I’m ready to do anything I have to for the team and prepare for whatever the coach needs me for.

“It was a good point [today], but we had the result and then we let it go,” he added. “We have to forget about it and focus now on the next game against Minnesota and try and win the three points.”

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