Raúl Ruidíaz could be eligible to play for the Seattle Sounders as soon as Oct. 27, GM Garth Lagerwey revealed on Wednesday. Only a day earlier team officials were under the impression that Ruidíaz would be required to undergo a second quarantine after returning to the team from Peru. That could have forced him to miss the remainder of the regular season.
“Our doctors will have to look at him, but if he passes all the screens on the Seattle end he’d immediately be able to play,” Lagerwey said. “We’ll see how it goes.”
Ruidíaz has been isolated in his hotel room in Peru since first testing positive for Covid-19 on Sunday. The initial test was confirmed on Tuesday, forcing him to miss Peru’s match against Brazil that night. He’ll likely need to remain there until he’s medically cleared to leave.
When Ruidíaz returns to play will be predicated on a couple variables, however. The first is that he remains healthy. So far, Ruidíaz has been asymptomatic. The other main factor is when Ruidíaz is allowed to leave Peru, which probably won’t be until he tests negative for Covid-19. That will likely take at least another week, but is uncertain enough that the Sounders have not yet been able to finalize those plans.
Once Ruidíaz returns to Seattle — he’s expected to fly commercial from Lima — the good news is that he’ll be considered a “recovered person” and not be subject to a second quarantine, according to the league’s health guidelines.
Assuming there are no further hiccups, the positive Covid-19 test won’t end up costing Ruidíaz any missed time beyond what had originally been expected.
“It’s a good reminder for all of us,” Lagerwey said. “If the President can get it, clearly anyone can get it. International travel is more precarious than anything else. We have to control what we can control.”
Fellow international call-ups Xavier Arreaga and Gustav Svensson are also expected to become eligible in time for the Oct. 27 game against the Vancouver Whitecaps. Arreaga and Svensson are both scheduled to be back in Seattle no later than Friday, at which point they’ll need to start a nine-day quarantine process. The league recently reduced that mandated period from 10 days.
The Sounders will play two more games between now and Oct. 27. They’ll visit the San Jose Earthquakes on Sunday and host the Portland Timbers on Oct. 22. The Sounders had originally been scheduled to host the Colorado Rapids tonight, but that game has been cancelled with no realistic hope of being rescheduled. The Rapids have had a total of seven matches affected by a Covid-19 outbreak within the team, only two of which have been rescheduled.
Lagerwey noted that it’s virtually inevitable that the league will need to use points per game to help determine the final standings, but said it was not yet clear if it would be the primary factor or used only as a tiebreaker.