Ruidiaz is a somewhat surprising omission from Peru's roster for the upcoming Copa America tournament, which includes La Blanquirroja opening Group A play on June 17 against Brazil. If Peru head coach Ricardo Gareca picked the 30-year-old and they advanced to the July 10 final, he likely wouldn't have been available until Seattle's July 18 match at Minnesota United FC.
Instead, the striker is poised to rejoin the Sounders after participating in Conmebol World Cup qualifiers in early June. Seattle head coach Brian Schmetzer, during a virtual media call, noted that he expects Ruidiaz to be back when the early Supporters' Shield leaders return from the league's international break June 19 at the LA Galaxy (9 pm ET | MLS LIVE on ESPN+).
"I was surprised because Raul's been in a really good run of form," Schmetzer said. "I mean, he's scoring goals, so that was surprising. But I'm not going to look a gift horse in the mouth. I think it's going to be good for us."
It's certainly a boost for the Sounders, although a bit of a double-edged sword for Ruidiaz. At the international level, he's never quite matched the gaudy goal-scoring production he's mustered across Liga MX (Morelia) and MLS (Seattle), posting just four goals in 47 appearances for the Conmebol side.
But the Designated Player has remained one of MLS' most productive No. 9s since joining Seattle in 2018, with 48 goals and 15 assists across 71 combined regular-season and postseason matches. Ruidiaz stands second in the Golden Boot presented by Audi race with six goals, trailing just LA's Javier "Chicharito" Hernandez (seven goals).
As for midfielder Nicolas Lodeiro and goalkeeper Stefan Frei, Seattle's pair of injured key contributors, Schmetzer said there aren't any new developments. Both standouts still figure to be sidelined indefinitely.
Lodeiro recently underwent surgery to relieve inflammation in his knee, while Frei developed a blood clot in his sprained knee that he injured in Seattle's 1-0 victory over the San Jose Earthquakes on May 12.
"[Lodeiro] comes into treatment every day, so he's doing fine, he's on schedule for his procedure," Schmetzer said. "Stef, again, that's a longer-term, a little bit more serious one. We're talking about July or August. Nico, the repair for the cartilage, that's going to take a while."
As they return from the June break, Seattle will look to improve upon back-to-back home draws against Atlanta United and Austin FC. They sit atop the league table with 18 points from a 5W-0L-3D record.