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Ozzie Alonso’s return sparks Sounders’ first win

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Haircut? Check. Attitude? Check. Midfield mastery? Check.

MLS: Minnesota United FC at Seattle Sounders FC Jennifer Buchanan-USA TODAY Sports

SEATTLE — The release of the starting lineup for the Seattle Sounders set off celebrations around the Puget Sound; Osvaldo Alonso was back, sporting his signature shaved head and ready to give the Sounders the adrenaline shot he has become known for injecting them with in his 10-year career in Seattle.

The club had received a taste of what Alonso would bring in a 2-2 road draw against Sporting Kansas City April 15. Sunday at CenturyLink Field, the team and fans of the Sounders got the full dose of what the Cuban could provide.

Alonso completed a team-high 94.9 percent of his 59 passes. If you’re not certain what that looks like, it looks like this:

A map of Osvaldo Alonso’s passes and defensive actions Sunday.

The 32-year-old was everywhere for Seattle, making five tackles and winning three fouls while only conceding one.

Sounders head coach Brian Schmetzer weighed in on what Alonso brought back to the pitch.

“The emotional side of things is certainly party of who is and what he’s been to this franchise,” Schmetzer said of Alonso. “We all see that, we all know that, we all sense that when he’s on the field. His soccer has been pretty good too. When he came on against Kansas City it calmed the team a little bit. It may have gotten lost at the Roldan brothers show at the beginning of the game. I think (today) Ozzie brought the ball from back to front fairly well. It’s great to have him back. It’s great to have guys that know how to play.”

Alonso said it was special to return to SoDo to play in front of the home support again.

“It felt great,” Alonso said. “I’m happy to be back. After a long time. I’m more happy for the win today. I’m very proud of the team today for getting all three points.”

Unfortunately for those who may have hoped that the return to his signature shaved head may have been a reverse Samsonesque bid to ensure his midfield prowess returned in full force, Alonso said it had merely been time for a haircut.

“I just got home, looked and the mirror and said I want to take the hair down. Nothing special, I just wanted to shave.”

Alonso eventually gave way to Magnus Wolff Eikrem in the 75th minute, a move that Schmetzer said after the match had been planned to not overwork Alonso as he returned to full fitness. Seattle’s defense may have slumped in his absence, but still was able to fight its way through to three points.

If Alonso remains healthy for the Sounders, Sunday’s win will prove to be the first of many.