CARSON, Calif. -- The Seattle Sounders dropped the first leg of their Western Conference Championship series with the LA Galaxy on Sunday, but considering they were without key components Osvaldo Alonso and Lamar Neagle, head coach Sigi Schmid had reason to be content.
Alonso (hamstring) and Neagle (personal matter) appear set for a return to the fold next weekend for the second leg at CenturyLink Field in Seattle, Schmid told reporters in his postgame press conference at StubHub Center.
“Certainly those guys help our team,” Schmid said. “Neagle has nine goals and nine assists, so he’s someone that helps us on the offensive end. And, obviously, Ozzie is Ozzie. Those guys we hope will both be available next week and should make things better.”
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Alonso - who appeared in 33 games during the regular season - got to about 80 percent during the week, according to Schmid, but he was held out of the group Sunday after failing to return to full strength from the hamstring injury he suffered Nov. 10 against FC Dallas. Micheal Azira took his place in the starting lineup before giving way to Andy Rose.
“I thought Michael did well,” Schmid said. “The reason why I subbed him out at the end was because he was running out of gas a little bit. We wanted to get Andy Rose in there to help us out with his heading. Gonzalo [Pineda] dropped in and helped us defend as well. Again, offensively at times, we need to do a better job. Defensively, I thought we did what we wanted to do.”
Schmid added that he felt Alonso would “for sure get there next week.”
Neagle, meanwhile, left the team Saturday to tend to a personal matter.
“He had to go home,” Schmid said. “The options are out of our hands at that point, and we’re hoping everything is going well for him. We send our best.”
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The Sounders were shut out for the second consecutive game, but there was a sense that it could have been worse heading into the second leg.
“Both those guys are integral parts of our team, but we’ve never been about just one person,” defender Zach Scott said. “This entire year, guys have cycled in and out when there’s been injuries or national team call-ups. We’re excited to have Ozzie and Lamar back, but we expect to put in a good performance regardless of who’s out there.”