Status of Seattle Sounders strongman Osvaldo Alonso uncertain heading into Conference Championship

TUKWILA, Wash. – As the Seattle Sounders prepare for their Western Conference Championship matchup of the MLS Cup Playoffs, presented by AT&T, against the LA Galaxy, the status of one of their most crucial pieces is up in the air.

Midfielder Osvaldo Alonso, one of the top ball-handling and defensive midfielders in MLS, went down with a hamstring injury during the second half of Seattle’s 0-0 draw against FC Dallas on Monday night that sent them through to the Western Conference Championship.

With Seattle’s first leg against LA not taking place until Nov. 23 (5 pm ET; ESPN), Sounders head coach Sigi Schmid said the tentative thought is that Alonso should be ready. However, nothing is certain.

“We’ll know more as we go forward each day,” Schmid told reporters following Seattle’s practice Tuesday afternoon at Starfire Soccer Complex. “Our expectation is that he’ll be able to make it back for the game in LA. We’ll go through the protocol, and obviously for the rest for this week we’re going to keep him off the field and try to get the treatment in and get him on the field next week.”

Losing Alonso – or not having him at full strength – would be a huge blow to the Sounders on both sides of the ball, meaning that getting their versatile midfielder back to full strength will be of paramount importance.

“He’s been there from day one for the Sounders,” forward Lamar Neagle said. “He’s been one of those guys that’s played almost every single game [since he’s been in Seattle]. …Obviously, defensively he does a lot of work and he’s kind of our engine in the middle.”

If Alonso is unable to go for the first leg, Seattle may turn to reserve Micheal Azira, who played well after subbing in for Alonso against Dallas on Monday and was acknowledged by Schmid on Tuesday as a capable option.

“[Azira] came in with a calm head and just went out there and just basically went about his business,” Schmid said. “I never worry about Mike. I never worry that he’s going to panic or be overwhelmed by the situation. He’s a good, solid character.”