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Georgi Minoungou called up, could start vs. RSL

Midfielder picked up his first Sounders assist in the Open Cup.

Last Updated
2 min read

RENTON — Fresh off making his MLS debut in a substitute appearance against the LA Galaxy and following that up by picking up an assist for the Seattle Sounders in their U.S. Open Cup game last week, Georgi Minoungou is set to make another first-team appearance on Wednesday.

The 21-year-old midfielder has been added to the Sounders roster on a short-term loan, along with right back Kalani Kossa-Rienzi, ahead of the match against Real Salt Lake. Roster rules dictate that players can be signed to four separate short-term loans during which they can appear in two regular-season games before they need to be offered a full MLS contract. If Minoungou plays against RSL, he’d still be eligible for two more call-ups but could only appear in Open Cup matches.

In limited first-team minutes, Minoungou has shown himself to be an exciting if somewhat unpolished player. Virtually every touch he takes is at goal and he’s given opposing defenses just about all they can handle.

The Sounders are almost certainly going to heavily rotate their lineup against Real Salt Lake, coming off a road game against the Portland Timbers on Sunday and ahead of a home match against the Vancouver Whitecaps on Saturday.

Although they have tended to a possession-heavy team over the years, they’ve shown more willingness to play on the counter, especially when on the road this season. The Sounders have averaged just 44% of possession in their last three road games, going 2-1-0 in the process.

RSL have been one of the league’s most active defensive teams this year, ranking fifth in MLS with 10.9 passes per defensive action and third with 117 high turnovers. Anticipating that RSL may try to press the Sounders, Schmetzer hinted that someone with Minoungou’s skillset — fast and direct — could come in particularly handy.

“How do we get beyond them?” Schmetzer asked rhetorically. “I’m going to put some speed on the field. We’ll have willing runners. We might play more direct.”

Baker-Whiting returns to bench

Reed Baker-Whiting will be available off the bench, following a 30-minute performance with Tacoma Defiance on Friday. It was his longest outing since he first suffered a hamstring injury in the 2023 regular-season finale about six months ago. Schmetzer said he was hopeful that Baker-Whiting might be able to start as soon as next week’s Open Cup match against Phoenix Rising.

“We just wanted him to a get a run so he feels he can play,” Schmetzer said. “We have to be careful with the kid. He had a significant injury and then a significant re-injury.”

Other injury updates

  • Yeimar Gomez-Andrade will be available off the bench against RSL, potentially putting him in line for a full return against the Whitecaps.
  • Pedro de la Vega will not be available against RSL, but is expected to be available off the bench against the Whitecaps.
  • Josh Atencio is “still a ways out”, according to Schmetzer. He said he’d like to have Atencio available for next week’s Open Cup match, but suggested the midfielder's return might not come until the May 29 match against RSL.
  • Obed Vargas (calf) and Raúl Ruidíaz (foot) were both officially listed as “questionable” for the RSL match. Neither participated in Wednesday’s training session.
  • Braudilio Rodrigues is getting closer to a return and will likely make some Defiance appearances before suiting up for an MLS game.