Fresh off winning their fifth match in six games and running their unbeaten streak to eight matches, the Seattle Sounders could be getting even stronger. Captain Osvaldo Alonso has declared himself fully fit and appears ready to reclaim his starting spot.
Ozzie Alonso says his knee feels good and he can go a full 90 on Sunday if he needs to.— Ari Liljenwall (@AriLiljenwall) August 17, 2017
Alonso played 31 minutes in last Saturday’s 1-0 win over Sporting Kansas City, his first appearance since injuring his knee on July 4. Although the Sounders managed to go 4-0-1 in his absence, with Gustav Svensson effectively taking over his spot, there’s little doubt that Alonso remains head coach Brian Schmetzer’s first-choice defensive midfielder.
Prior to his injury, Alonso had been enjoying another stellar season. His 90.8 passing percentage is fourth best in the league and actually a little better than last year’s league-leading figure. He’s also averaging 2.5 tackles and .8 blocked shots per game, both of which are among the top 30.
Re-inserting Alonso into the starting lineup on Sunday against Minnesota United would give Schmetzer some big decisions to make, though. The biggest is what to do with Svensson, who has allowed the Sounders to maintain a level previously unseen whenever Alonso missed extended periods of time. It’s possible that Svensson could slide back to center back and replace Roman Torres, but with a massive Cascadia Cup clash with the Vancouver Whitecaps on Wednesday that seems an unlikely solution for the immediate future. More likely Svensson will be relegated to reserve duty for just the second time this year, and given him the start at midweek.