If the Seattle Sounders on international duty got off to a bit of a slow start after the first series of games, then they didn’t even get out of the starting blocks for matches over the weekend. With one exception, injuries and poor team performances was the theme over Match Day 2 of the October window, leaving more questions than answers.
The good news is that most of the Sounders still on international duty will have the chance to make up for a shaky weekend in the third set of matches, though less certain is how much those players will be involved. Here’s how they fared over Match Day 2:
Might as well start off with the good news. Nouhou’s return to form with the Sounders after a summer of injuries seems to have translated into a starting spot in Cameroon’s defense, as Nouhou again played the entire match, helping Cameroon to a vital road victory over Mozambique. The 1-0 victory helped Cameroon keep pace with group leaders Ivory Coast, who managed a 2-1 victory over Malawi. Ivory Coast sits atop the group with 10 points, with Cameroon close behind at 9.
Up next: At Malawi (Nov. 11)
Cameroon is off for the rest of this window, good news for the Sounders who will need Nouhou at the weekend, with Yeimar set to serve a one-game suspension for yellow-card accumulation after picking up his fifth on the weekend in dubious fashion. As for Cameroon, it will likely come down to their match with the Ivory Coast on Nov. 14 to see who advances to the final round of CAF qualifying. Nouhou will likely be in the starting lineup for those matches.
Alex Roldan (El Salvador)
Captain Roldan once again put in a 90-minute shift in El Salvador’s 2-1 defeat at Costa Rica. El Salvador raced out to a 1-0 lead thanks to a goal in the 12th minute by Jairo Rodriguez, but could not make it stand up, conceding the game winner in the 58th minute via a penalty. It was a tough result to take after leading for more than half the game, and a victory would have put El Salvador in a good position as far as potential qualification goes, though it’s still early.
Up Next: Mexico (Oct. 13)
That’s why a victory would have been huge. Though the match is at home, expecting El Salvador to get a result against Mexico is a big ask. Still, El Salvador did hold the US to a draw at home, for as much as that apparently means. Roldan seems to be set in the lineup in permanent marker, and given his well-received performance against Mexico in Gold Cup, will likely captain the squad again.
Cristian Roldan (USA)
Ugh. Roldan came off the bench for the USA in their match against Panama, though was as ineffective as the rest of the team in an uninspired, insipid 1-0 defeat at Estadio Rommel Fernández in Panama City. USA coach Gregg Berhalter is being raked over the coals for making seven changes to the team that defeated Jamaica 2-0 last week, and the only silver lining is that results elsewhere meant the USA only fell to second in the group.
Up Next: Costa Rica (Oct. 13)
The poor showing in Panama has everyone questioning Berhalter, though he argues that the rotation means he will have a fresh team for a pivotal showdown with Costa Rica, whom cost former coach Jurgen Klinsmann his job in 2017 after the USA was humiliated 4-0. Needless to say, a negative result on Wednesday may make the Berhalter’s seat uncomfortably warm, to say the least.
Xavier Arreaga (Ecuador)
Arreaga did not make the bench for Ecuador in their match against Venezuela on Sunday, for reasons that are presumably fitness related. The insult to that injury is that Ecuador managed to blow a 1-0 lead, losing to the Conmebol bottom-dwellers 2-1. Though the match was on the road, it was surely a major upset that prevented Ecuador from giving themselves a major cushion in qualifying.
Up Next: At Colombia (Oct. 14)
Ecuador will wish they’d taken care of business, as they now get a Colombia side looking to get themselves back into one of the qualifying places, trailing 3rd place Ecuador by one point. Whether Arreaga features is anyone’s guess at this point.
Raúl Ruidíaz (Peru)
Speaking of injuries and insults, Ruidiaz did not make the bench in Peru’s opening match of this window, which was not unexpected. Unfortunately, Ruidiaz appears to have suffered some sort of aggravation to his leg injury in training, meaning he was not available for Peru’s match versus Bolivia. Still Peru should have been able to manage a result against Bolivia, but couldn’t find the back of the net, losing 1-0 on a goal that came after Bolivia had been reduced to 10 men.
Up Next: At Argentina (Oct. 14)
What was that about taking advantage of opportunities? Peru had worked themselves back into the qualifying conversation with 10 points in five games, and laid an egg against Bolivia. Now they get to travel to Argentina to try and get a result. Good luck. As for Ruidiaz, the real question is how bad is the injury, and how it affects his return to the Sounders? Unless Peru can shock the world against Argentina, their quest to qualify for the 2022 World Cup is on life support.