TUKWILA, Wash. – There might not have been a player who benefitted more from the World Cup break than Osvaldo Alonso.
The Seattle Sounders defensive midfielder has been playing at something less than 100 percent virtually all season, but after a three-week break between games, he may finally be playing without pain when the team visits D.C. United on Saturday (7 pm ET; MLSsoccer.com Steam of the Week).
“Ozzie’s looking good,” Sounders head coach Sigi Schmid told reporters on Wednesday. “The time-off period was exactly what we wanted and hoped for. I think he’s back at his level in terms of fitness and being injury free, so that’s really important to us.”
While Alonso has seemed something slightly less than player most agree is one of the best ball winners in the league, he has still managed to play in all 15 matches and only been pulled from one.
Although the Sounders defense has looked vulnerable at times – allowing 23 goals – Alonso has still played well enough to help get them to the top of the Supporters’ Shield standings.
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“Ozzie’s an important player,” Schmid said. “Those players when they’re not at 100 percent they can still find ways to impact the game and have an influence on your team’s play. Ozzie’s an experienced enough player that he can do that.
“If you know you have full control of all your capabilities – your ability to sprint, to explode, hit shots with either foot – that makes you feel more comfortable on the field and gives you more confidence.”