TUKWILA, Wash. – Raúl Ruidíaz was a full participant in training on Friday, likely clearing the way for him to be available in Saturday’s match against the Vancouver Whitecaps.
Just how fit he is, however, remains to be seen. Ruidíaz missed the Seattle Sounders’ last two games with back pain and head coach Brian Schmetzer did note that the training session the day before a match is usually pretty light.
“We’ll check in with him, but he looks OK,” Schmetzer said, stopping a little short of saying the forward would definitely be available for selection.
It has been a frustrating couple of years for Ruidíaz, who has already missed 14 matches and been limited to just 11 starts this season. Although he’s remained reasonably productive on a per-minute basis (.43 goals per 90), his five goals scored are currently the fewest he’s scored in a calendar year since he became a professional in 2009.
In his place, Jordan Morris appears to be the top choice. Morris scored his 11th goal of the MLS campaign on Wednesday, one shy of his career high set in his rookie season of 2016.
OL Reign announced before Friday’s game that they had already sold enough tickets to ensure they’ll break the single-game NWSL attendance record of 32,000.
“I love that,” Schmetzer said when informed of the announcement. “For Megan, what a fitting tribute. Her success has been the Reign’s success. What a great career. What a great sendoff.”
When asked if he had any personal stories to share about interactions with Rapinoe, Schmetzer chuckled.
“She’s busy, I’m too small,” he said. “In her orbit, I’m way down here. She’s a rockstar.”
Waiting players when they left the training field were two surprising faces: St. Louis City's Sam Adeniran and Aziel Jackson.
Adeniran, of course, played in the Sounders organization from 2021-22, while Jackson lived in Renton while playing for Crossfire before turning professional. They were in the region after playing the Vancouver Whitecaps on Wednesday and had several days off before resuming training. St. Louis doesn't play against until the host the Sounders on Oct. 21.