The Seattle Sounders will be likely without at least one potential starter for MLS Cup after head coach Brian Schmetzer revealed on Friday that Xavier Arreaga stayed in Seattle. Arreaga and his wife are expecting the birth of their first child.
“He won’t be here unless the baby is born soon and by some miracle we’re able to get him here,” Schmetzer told reporters. “We let him stay there with his wife.”
While Arreaga may have been in contention to start against the Columbus Crew, he has not yet appeared during the 2020 playoffs. The Ecuadorian centerback missed the first two games through a combination of international duty and subsequent quarantine. Arreaga returned to training a few days before the the Western Conference finals, but did not play in that game after Shane O’Neill performed well in the first two playoff rounds and the Sounders were chasing the game late.
Arreaga finished the season basically splitting time with O’Neill due in large part to repeatedly having to leave the team for international duty. Arreaga made four starts for Ecuador during World Cup qualifying, scoring his first international goal. With the Sounders, Arreaga finished the year with the league’s best +/- per 90 minutes, as well as the best xGD per 90. He also had the third best pass completion percentage — tied for best among defenders — in the league.
The Sounders are expected to bring Arreaga back in 2021, where he’ll likely again compete for a starting spot.