TUKWILA, Wash. — There will be at least two more players available to the Seattle Sounders for Wednesday’s home match against Austin FC, with Léo Chú and Nouhou both resuming full training this week. Chú missed the Sounders’ last two games with a foot injury, while Nouhou has been out since April 15 after contracting malaria.
While Raúl Ruidíaz has not yet fully resumed training, he too is getting close to a return from the hamstring injury that has caused him to miss the last four league games. Ruidíaz was a limited participant in training on Tuesday and seemed to be having a good time, joking with teammates and even scoring some impressive goals in short-sided games. Notably, Peru coach Juan Reynoso was also in attendance at training.
“He’s getting closer,” Sounders head coach Brian Schmetzer said. “Raúl would tell you he’s ready to play tomorrow. I’m going to take the rest of the week to think about it and let’s see if he can train in full next week. He might be able to go.”
The news was not quite as upbeat for Cristian Roldan, who is still recovering from concussion symptoms that have kept him out for more than a month. Roldan was limited to light jogging on the side and is at least making progress, but there’s still no timetable for his return.
“Unfortunately, again, I know I sound like a broken record but we’re not taking any chances,” Schmetzer said. “He has to clear the last lingering symptoms that he has. We’re ramping him up, that’s what I can say. He’s ramping up his activity and we’ll see how his body and head react. If it’s good, we’ll ramp him up more and go from there.”
Looking back on Houston
Although the Sounders beat the Dynamo, Schmetzer admitted he was a little frustrated that it took Paul Rothrock’s late goal to seal the result. The Dynamo went down to 10 men in the 20th minute and lost an additional player in the 77th minute.
“It was an odd film review,” Schmetzer said. “We focused mostly on the first 20 minutes. We played better when we were at even numbers. Some of the coaching points were just patience and changing the point of attack, but we messaged that already. We already train that.”
Turning to Austin
Austin FC comes into Wednesday’s match riding an eight-game winless run that dates to March 11 against Real Salt Lake, which also happens to be the only time they’ve won on the road this year.
Schmetzer is well aware that the Sounders’ recent performances against bad-form teams have not been very good. The Sounders’ last two losses came against a Sporting KC team that was riding a 10-game winless run and the Portland Timbers, who had just two points in their previous six games.
“The message is we’ve let some of our arch rivals back in and let’s not do it again,” Schmetzer said.
Adding to Austin’s struggles is that they’ve been without MVP candidate Sebastian Driussi the last two games with a groin injury. They’re also missing rising star Owen Wolff, who is currently with the United States U-20 World Cup team.
Head coach Josh Wolff has tried to compensate for their absences by using three-centerback formations, which did help limit FC Dallas to .4 expected goals on Saturday. This being in the middle of a three-game week could also lead Austin to play more conservatively and could possibly mimic what the Sounders faced in Houston.
“If they play a backline of five, there’s less space, that’s similar,” Schmetzer said.