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Osvaldo Alonso belongs among the all-time MLS greats

Alonso, 38, retires after 15 MLS seasons.

Last Updated
1 min read
Mike Russell / Sounder at Heart

Osvaldo Alonso announced his retirement on Monday, putting a cap on arguably the greatest career of any MLS defensive midfielder. The 38-year-old played 15 MLS seasons, including 10 with the Sounders in which he helped them win four U.S. Open Cups, two Western Conference trophies, an MLS Cup and a Supporters’ Shield.

Alonso had a remarkable career, coming to the United States after defecting from the Cuba national team during the Gold Cup and then leading the USL's Charleston Battery to the U.S. Open Cup final in his first professional season. Along the way, he helped them beat the Sounders – who were on their own Cinderella run – which caught the attention of GM Adrian Hanauer, who identified Alonso as a potential cornerstone of the MLS franchise. The Sounders paid a transfer fee to get Alonso, who became an opening day starter and established himself as a top defensive midfielder almost immediately.

At the height of his powers, Alonso was one of the most accurate passers and one of the most active defenders in the entire league.

The only problem was his inability to stay healthy. During his last four seasons in Seattle, he missed significant time in three of them and was ultimately allowed to leave after 2018. He joined Minnesota United, where he enjoyed a bit of a renaissance campaign while making 27 starts and leading them to their first-ever playoff, but then didn't make more than 15 starts in any of his final four seasons. He only made seven sub appearances last year with Atlanta United.

None of that should diminish what Alonso meant to the Sounders or take away from his body of work.