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Sounders training notes: A champion returns

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Cristian Roldan says he’s ready to play after winning the Gold Cup.

Cristian Roldan (L) was a full participant in training Wednesday.
Miki Turner

TUKWILA — The Seattle Sounders wrapped up training Tuesday ahead of their last match before a short break from league play. Joining them on the practice fields for the first time in a month was midfielder Cristian Roldan, fresh off a Gold Cup-winning stint with the United States Men’s National Team in Sunday.

Roldan didn’t have much time to celebrate the 1-0 victory over Mexico, and in fact was back with the team Monday at Starfire. Roldan did not appear to be suffering any ill-effects from his approximately 60-minute shift in the Gold Cup final, and while he was disappointed that he didn’t the start in the match, he said he was ready to go for Wednesday’s match against FC Dallas.

“It was a whole month of being away from Seattle and my family at home and it’s great to see all the smiles back here,” Roldan said. “I’ve been itching to get 90 minutes in [because] I was upset that I didn’t start in the game. I’m a gamer, I love to play in games.

“I wanted to make sure that I gave myself every chance to play [against FC Dallas]. I didn’t play too many minutes, so it doesn’t restrict me too much.”

In addition to Roldan’s return to the team, the injury news was a bit more positive, as Josh Atencio — who the Sounders said suffered a broken rib in the match against San Jose — appears to have escaped the more serious diagnosis. Head coach Brian Schmetzer provided an update, revealing that the injury was not as serious, and he will be able to play some role in the match tomorrow.

“When he was examined after the game, they thought he had a broken rib, it’s actually just a deep bruise,” Schmetzer said. “He will be wearing a flak jacket, and he will participate in the match.”

Joining Atencio among the ranks of the recovered are defenders Brad Smith and AB Cissoko. Smith sustained a hamstring injury prior to the San Jose match, while Cissoko was dealing with a tendinitis issue due to overuse. Both players were in training on Tuesday, and will be able to make the 18 for the Sounders, if not start.

The injury news will be a welcome sight for the Sounders, coming off two disappointing home results, and facing a resurgent FC Dallas side that just defeated Sporting Kansas City 2-1 on the road. That result allowed the Sounders to remain atop the Western Conference, though Sporting Kansas City has a game in hand.

“I’m going to thank Luchi [González] for the performance in Sporting KC, and then try to get after them a little bit,” Schmetzer said. “He’s got a talented team and they don’t deviate from a style of play, they’re a possession-based team and they like to play out of the back. A team that’s got some confidence, a team that’s going to be up for the game.”

If there is one team that has availed itself more of its homegrown talent than the Sounders, it’s certainly FC Dallas, whose identity is in playing its kids. With their run of recent results, and the Sounders recent home struggles, Roldan said the team realizes that Dallas will present a stiff challenge

“It’s going to be a tough game [because] Dallas is playing extremely well,” Roldan said. “They score a lot of goals and have a lot of youth that bring a lot of energy to the game. It’s going to be a tough one.”