Osvaldo Alonso red card means Seattle Sounders miss "heart of our team"

SEATTLE – Seattle Sounders midfielder Osvaldo Alonso is in the midst of one of the finest seasons of his already-illustrious MLS career and, with his play in recent weeks, has even vaulted himself into the discussion as a fringe candidate for the league’s MVP award.

But the 30-year-old was left despondent in the postgame locker room following Seattle’s 0-0 draw against the Houston Dynamo at CenturyLink Field on Wednesday, after he picked up a 64th-minute red card for making contact with the face of Houston forward Will Bruin.

The draw denied Seattle a chance to clinch a spot in the 2016 Audi MLS Cup playoffs, and also marked the second straight week a Sounders veteran has picked up an ill-advised second-half red card. Captain Brad Evans was ejected from the team’s 2-1 victory over the Vancouver Whitecaps on Oct. 2.

“The frustration [with Ozzie] was the same that I had with Brad,” Sounders interim head coach Brian Schmetzer said after the game.

“You have to understand Ozzie has always had a fiery temperament from day one. I’m not making excuses for the kid, but the fact of the matter is he has given us everything since I took over. There’s been talk about him really being an MVP candidate for our team.

“Now, what I want from him and Brad and the rest of the team is that this stops, because we can’t afford to shoot ourselves in the foot anymore. I think they understand that.”

The red card means that Alonso will be suspended for Seattle’s next match, an upcoming road clash with FC Dallas at Toyota Stadium on Sunday (5 pm ET, MLS LIVE).

“It’s tough. Ozzie’s the heart of our team,” Sounders midfielder Cristian Roldan said. “He’s a guy that we need on our roster and on the field at all times. Whenever you’re missing him, you’re missing the most important piece of our team.”

The Sounders might also have to make do, against a Supporters’ Shield-leading FCD squad, without midfielder Andreas Ivanschitz who exited the contest in just the 11th minute after spraining his knee, leaving Schmetzer with another void to fill ahead of Sunday’s match.

“It just makes my job more interesting,” Schmetzer said. “We’ve got training tomorrow. They’re going to come in, we’re going to talk about, watch film and prepare for Dallas.”