When news first broke that Osvaldo Alonso had undergone surgery to repair his groin last week, there were hopes that he'd be able to return to training relatively quickly. Sounders head coach Sigi Schmid didn't exactly destroy those hopes, but he cast a far more pessimistic picture when he gave an update on Monday:
Sigi Schmid says Ozzie Alonso could, 'on the outside,' miss six to eight weeks following his groin surgery— Matt Pentz (@mattpentz) February 9, 2015
Schmid said that Alonso could recover more quickly, but that his status for Seattle's first couple games is in jeopardy— Matt Pentz (@mattpentz) February 9, 2015
Assuming the season starts on time -- which is far from a foregone conclusion -- the Sounders are scheduled to open against the New England Revolution on March 8 and then play the San Jose Earthquakes on March 13. The good news is that they have a scheduled bye week after that and don't play their third match until March 28, when they visit FC Dallas.
If Schmid's worst-case scenario plays out and Alonso misses eight full weeks following his surgery, he'd be in line to make his debut on April 3 at home against the Houston Dynamo or possibly even on the road against the LA Galaxy on April 12.
With Alonso out, the most likely options to fill in would appear to be Micheal Azira, Andy Rose or, possibly, Cristian Roldan. Azira offers the Sounders the closest thing to a like-for-like replacement, while Rose and Roldan would be more offensive options. Roldan would be an especially bold decision, as the rookie spent most of his time at the University of Washington playing in more of a purely offensive role. But his coach, Jamie Clark, has repeatedly said that he sees Roldan's best role in the pros as being more defensive, likening him to Alonso in particular.