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Raúl Ruidíaz pledges a better 2023

The forward is coming off a season in which he missed more than half the Sounders’ games with injury.

FBL-CONCACAF-SOUNDERS-PUMAS Photo by JASON REDMOND/AFP via Getty Images

While there were several key Seattle Sounders who struggled with injury last year, perhaps the most frustrating plight was that of Raúl Ruidíaz. It wasn’t just that the forward was limited to a career low in minutes (1,302 in the regular season), it was that he was sidelined multiple times with muscle injuries. There were at least three separate instances that ended up keeping him out of 20 matches.

The 32-year-old is apparently committed to not letting that happen again. Appearing at MLS Media Day in California, he told reporters “this is going to be a totally different year” and that the Sounders trainers have been impressed with his fitness early in training camp.

Simply having Ruidíaz on the field more often could be the difference between making and missing the playoffs for the Sounders. Even though Ruidíaz’s .62 goals per 90 minutes were below his MLS career average (.68), that was still good enough to rank among the Top 20 in the league. Perhaps more importantly, the Sounders averaged 2.0 goals per game in all-competitions when he started vs. 1.13 in games he didn’t.

The addition of Héber should help mitigate that gap, but a healthy Ruidíaz would unquestionably be a big boost to the Sounders.

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