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Sounders abroad: How it ended

Of the Sounders’ five internationals, only Alex Roldan logged heavy minutes.

Colombia v Ecuador - FIFA World Cup 2022 Qatar Qualifier Photo by Guillermo Legaria/Getty Images

The international window is — finally — at an end, and the Seattle Sounders who were called into duty are on their way back to meet up with the team in Houston. Well, most of them. The October window was a decidedly mixed bag from both results- and playing-time perspectives for the Sounders involved, and with about a month before the next window, there will be ample time for the players to showcase their form domestically before the November window begins.

Here’s how they fared in the final match day of the October window:

Alex Roldan (El Salvador)

El Salvador acquitted themselves quite well against Mexico in the final matchday, in front of a raucous crowd in Estadio Cuscatlán on Wednesday. Unfortunately, an early set-piece goal and a red card just after halftime basically sealed their fate in a 2-0 loss to El Tri. Still, they were in with a chance for a result until a late penalty ended their hopes. Alex Roldan again captained El Salvador, marking his third straight game wearing the armband. Roldan went 90 minutes again, meaning his availability for the match against Houston is questionable except as possibly a late-game substitute.

What’s next: Nov. 12 vs Jamaica

There is no shame in losing to Mexico (even at home), but El Salvador will rue blowing a lead at Costa Rica, which would have gotten them to eight points, keeping them in touching distance of the 4th-place playoff-qualification spot. They will have a chance to make up ground, hosting Jamaica in the next match day. Roldan will surely be called in for the November window, and it’s a good bet he’ll captain the side then, too.

Xavier Arreaga (Ecuador)

We have an Arreaga sighting! Ecuador finished up their October qualifying with a 0-0 draw at Colombia, far from a bad result. Like El Salvador, the real gut punch for Ecuador was losing at last-place Venezuela in the previous matchday. Still, the point kept Ecuador in third place, comfortably in the qualifying places with 17 points. Importantly, after not featuring in the first two match days, Arreaga got about 12 minutes at the end of the match, which is probably a best-case scenario for the Sounders, as he should be fit and ready to go on the weekend.

What’s next: Nov. 11 vs. Venezuela

Ecuador will get the chance for revenge against Venezuela in the first November match day. Losing on the road in CONMEBOL can be excused, even to the last-place team. Losing at home to that team won’t be. Arreaga seems likely to get called in again, even if his playing time over the last six months has been sporadic, to say the least.

Cristian Roldan (USA)

After a shaky start to the match, the Americans turned it around against Costa Rica in a 2-1 victory that settled quite a few nerves after their poor showing against Panama. The victory kept the USA in second place in Concacaf qualifying, and with results elsewhere, it appears to be three-team race for the final two automatic qualifiers, with USA and Canada in the pole positions, and Panama lurking a few points behind. Cristian for his part didn’t see the field against Costa Rica, meaning he should be ready to start on the weekend.

What’s next: Nov. 12 vs. Mexico

USA’s fairly comfortable position in qualifying could become a lot more tenuous if they drop points at home to Mexico, even with their recent good run of results against El Tri. Roldan’s chances of seeing the field in that match seem to at this point depend on the the state of the roster. A fully healthy midfield, with Christian Pulisic and Gio Reyna potentially returning as well, may push him further down the depth chart.

Raúl Ruidíaz (Peru)

It was a pretty forgettable window overall for Peru. While losing on the road to Argentina is hardly the worst result in the world, the loss to Bolivia in the previous match day was a real gut-punch, erasing the good work done previously (10 points in 5 games) to get them back in the conversation for a fifth-place finish, which would have qualified them for the intercontinental playoff. As it is Peru now sits in 9th place, five points away from the playoff spot. In CONMEBOL, that might as well be 25 points away. Ruidíaz was ruled out for the final two match days, having re-aggravated his leg injury. He remains in Peru receiving treatment and will rejoin the Sounders after their upcoming two-game road swing.

What’s next: Nov. 11 vs. Bolivia

Peru sits behind a resurgent Bolivia in Conmebol qualifying, and to have any chance to get back in conversation for qualification will need to win that match. Whether Ruidiaz is involved will depend on how he recovers from his injury, and whether his complicated relationship with Peruvian head coach Ricardo Gareca is in a good place.

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