UPDATE: Brian Schmetzer told KJR on Tuesday that the MRI showed Raúl Ruidíaz suffered a “little strain” and “not a full-blown blowout” to the opposite hamstring he had previously hurt. The Sounders are planning to do more testing before setting any sort of timeline for Ruidíaz’s return, but that he’ll eventually be brought back more slowly with fewer minutes at the outset.
“We have to get him right,” Schmetzer said. “We can’t keep going through this time and time again.”
TUKWILA — Raúl Ruidíaz’s start-and-stop 2022 is, once again, stopped. The Seattle Sounders striker came out of Saturday’s game after 81 minutes after apparently re-aggravating the injury that had just kept him out for the previous four games, and is now due to miss at least the next two.
Ruidíaz is scheduled to undergo an MRI on Tuesday that will hopefully provide a timetable for his return, but the best-case scenario is that he won’t return until the July 23 match against the Colorado Rapids, Brian Schmetzer said.
This will be the fourth time muscle injuries have forced Ruidíaz to miss games since last September. By the end of this week, he will have missed 19 of the Sounders’ last 38 matches across all competitions.
When healthy, Ruidíaz has been as productive as ever, scoring eight goals in about 1,100 minutes across all competitions. That rate of .65 goals per 90 minutes is effectively on par with his MLS career average of .70.
In his place, Schmetzer will most likely give time to both Fredy Montero and Will Bruin. Montero has six goals in about 1,000 minutes, while Bruin has two goals in about 500 minutes. Both scored in their most recent starts.
It’s also possible that Schmetzer could move Jordan Morris to the No. 9 spot with Léo Chú potentially filling in on the wing.
Arreaga nears return
In more positive news, Schmetzer said that Xavier Arreaga would most likely play at least some role in Wednesday’s match at Nashville and could be in line for a bigger role against the Chicago Fire on Saturday.
Arreaga has missed the Sounders’ last four matches after coming out of the LAFC match on June 18 with a hamstring injury. Jackson Ragen has started all four matches in his place, but won’t be available on Wednesday due to his red card in Saturday’s game.
That puts Abdoulaye Cissoko in line for his first MLS start since a 2-0 loss at FC Dallas on May 7. Cissoko has also played 120 minutes in the U.S. Open Cup and has three other starts for the Tacoma Defiance in MLS Next Pro, including a 45-minute performance in a 6-1 win over the Portland Timbers 2 on Sunday.
Coaches return, too
Most of the Sounders coaching staff missed at least part of training last week, with Andy Rose and Preki both absent from Saturday’s bench. All of them were back at work on Monday, though, and were set to travel with the team on this week’s road trip.