TUKWILA, Wash. — Although Cristian Roldan has now been fully training for about a week, his participation in Sunday’s match against Atlanta United remains questionable. That’s not due to any physical setback, Seattle Sounders head coach Brian Schmetzer said, it’s more to make sure that the midfielder is in the right headspace after suffering his second concussion of the season and being limited to just 11 appearances all season.
“I’m going to have one last conversation with him after today,” Schmetzer said following Friday’s training session. “We still have tomorrow, but I want to make he’s clear of mind. There’s concussion symptoms, but then there are those mental hurdles of ‘I’ve got to head the ball’ and some of those things. I want Cristian to be healthy, safe and comfortable before I put him back in. One more little conversation, let’s see how that goes, I might be conservative there.
“I’m going to talk to all the doctors, all the specialists and then Christian himself. That’s the biggest specialist I’ll talk to. ”
Schmetzer acknowledged that the Sounders have a significantly better record when Roldan plays, but said that won’t play a factor in his decision.
“His longterm health is way more important,” Schmetzer said. “We miss Cristian. It’s hard but, that’s what we’re going to do.”
Stefan Frei has been fully cleared to play after suffering a finger injury and missing the Sounders’ last game against CF Monterrey. He will almost certainly start. Stefan Cleveland will not be his backup, however.
Cleveland will miss Sunday’s game while on bereavement leave after the tragic death of his father, who apparently died in a car accident. The team will wear black armbands in a show of solidarity.
It was not immediately clear if Andrew Thomas or Jacob Castro would serve as Frei’s backup.
Xavier Arreaga returns
Also returning to the gameday roster is Xavier Arreaga. The centerback last appeared for the Sounders on May 31 and has not been available since suffering a muscle injury while on international duty with Ecuador during the June international window.