Considering how thin the Seattle Sounders are in the central midfield, now would be a good time for Osvaldo Alonso to return from injury.
“Alonso traveled down here,” Sounders head coach Sigi Schmid said during a Friday teleconference ahead of the team’s match against Chivas USA on Saturday (10:30 pm ET; MLS Live). “We’ll make a determination [Saturday] morning. It’s more of a day-of-game decision for Ozzie. He trained today, so that was good, so we’ll see how he feels tomorrow.”
Alonso hasn’t played since leaving the Sounders’ game on May 18 around the 30th minute with an adductor strain. In his absence, Seattle lost 4-0 to the LA Galaxy and 1-0 to the Tampa Bay Rowdies in the third round of the US Open Cup.
Those losses may have added a sense of urgency to Saturday’s game against Chivas USA, but Schmid insisted that won’t affect the decision whether or not to actually play Alonso.
“What you always do, in all my years of coaching, is you try and make decisions that are best for the team,” Schmid explained. “Usually the decisions that are best for the team end up being the best decisions for the individual, as well.
“In Ozzie’s case, you can say, ‘Well it’s best for the team to put him on the field,’ but if putting him on the field in this game puts him into a very high probability of re-injuring himself or making the injury worse, then that’s not really best for the team. That ends up being the worst thing for the team. What you’re doing is constantly running that balance.”
The Sounders will be playing Chivas at an interesting time. The Goats have gone 0-6-1 in their past seven, fired their head coach on Wednesday and announced that his permanent replacement won’t take over until next week. Academy director Sacha van der Most will fill in on the sideline in this game.
Schmid is more than a little wary of what awaits the Sounders.
“I think it makes them all the more dangerous,” he said. “I wish none of that would have happened this week. I wish they still had the same coach.
“Now, we’re going into the game and we don’t know what changes the interim coach is going to bring … from that standpoint, the topsy-turvy week they’ve had makes it a little more difficult for us to prepare.”