COMMERCE CITY, Colo. – The Seattle Sounders got some much-needed road points in their 3-1 Independence Day victory over the Colorado Rapids at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park, but they had to do so without the services of two of their most important players for most of the match.
Star midfielder Osvaldo Alonso was the first to leave the contest after sustaining a 15th-minute knee injury and had to be replaced by Aaron Kovar. Starting center back and three-time MLS Defender of the Year Chad Marshall went next after he struggled to shake off an early-game tweak of his foot and was replaced by Tony Alfaro in the 22nd minute.
After the match, Sounders head coach Brian Schmetzer didn’t give a specific diagnosis of either injury but, from the sound of it, the knocks to his veteran linchpins also aren’t long-term.
“Just a little dinged up knee [for Alonso] and a dinged up foot [for Marshall],” Schmetzer said. “But they’ll be fine. They’re tough kids.”
The Sounders can only hope that holds true when they’re re-evaluated, as losing either Alonso or Marshall for an extended period of time would be a crucial blow. Given how long his side had to play without them against Colorado on Tuesday, Schmetzer said he was pleased with how his side responded.
“They’re a resilient veteran squad,” Schmetzer said. “The guys who stepped onto the field like Tony and Kovar, maybe not the most seasoned guys but they still belong. They have that mindset. I just thought the rest of the guys carried them, they helped Tony, they helped Kovar get used to the game, the pace of the game and it turned out.”
Alonso and Marshall’s exits were part of an overall chippy and physical match on Tuesday, which saw the Rapids commit 19 fouls and get issued five different yellow cards.
Schmetzer was noticeably animated on the sideline throughout the match and when asked about that postgame, he cited concern for the safety of his players as the source of his ire.
“So, I never complain about referees if they miss an offside call or the ball goes out of bounds,” he said. “You can’t complain about that because that’s just part of the game. They’re humans. They make mistakes. The thing that gets me fired up, though, is the safety of my players.
“I felt there were some challenges that weren’t dealt with."