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Raúl Ruidíaz ‘more likely than not’ to miss Sporting KC match

Ruidíaz will likely travel with team to Sporting KC, opening some possibility for a role off the bench.

2022 MLS All-Star Game Photo by Omar Vega/Getty Images

TUKWILA — Knowing they’ll need wins in their final two games to even have a chance to extend their MLS record 13-season playoff streak, the Seattle Sounders face the very likely prospect of playing Sunday’s game against Sporting KC without leading scorer Raúl Ruidíaz.

The striker was forced out of Perú’s game against El Salvador on Tuesday after suffering an injury around the 10th minute and was seen in tears on the sideline.

Although the injury doesn’t appear to be as serious as initially feared, Sounders head coach Brian Schmetzer didn’t sound very optimistic about Ruidíaz playing on Sunday.

“I would say that it’s more likely than not that he won’t be able to play,” Schmetzer said, indicating that Ruidíaz was undergoing an MRI in Seattle and they would know more on Friday. “He understands the importance of the game. We’ll take him on the trip and if he can manage the pain — sometimes if it’s an ankle sprain they can just wrap that up — but we want to rule out anything serious.

“He’s in a good mood, so that tells you something.”

The Sounders will take any positive vibes they can get. Thanks to a stretch run in which they’ve gone just 2-5-2 in their last nine games, the Sounders’ predicament is so bad that they could be eliminated before they even take the field against Sporting KC. That nightmare scenario would unfold if the LA Galaxy (46 points), Portland Timbers (46) and Minnesota United (45) all reach 47 points.

But even if that happens, Schmetzer insisted his approach won’t change.

“Hopefully, it’s good, but even if it’s not we’re going to try to beat Kansas City and try to get as many points as we can,” Schmetzer said. “I’m going to play the team that will help us win the game, young or old.”

The Sounders’ part of the equation isn’t exactly easy, either. Despite having already been eliminated from the playoffs, Sporting KC are among the hottest teams in the league. Their 14 points in the past six games are more than all but the Philadelphia Union (16). It’s a far cry from the team the Sounders handled 3-0 on June 25 that started the season 5-13-5.

“They’ve righted the ship a little bit,” Schmetzer said. “They’ll be a tough squad. They’d love to knock us out of the playoffs.”

Schmetzer talks to Arreaga

Schmetzer had his first opportunity to talk face-to-face with Xavier Arreaga following the centerback’s controversial Instagram post last week. Schmetzer did not reveal many details about the discussion, but did clarify previous comments that some right-wing pundits considered thought policing.

“We’re not in the business of telling Xavi what to think,” Schmetzer said. “He’s his own man. But we do want to guide him, to council him, to help him when it comes to his social media account. That’s all we can do. If I decide to go into that on a more personal level, that’s my choice. Those conversations I will keep private.”

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