Osvaldo Alonso - Seattle Sounders - MLS Cup

Seattle Sounders captain Osvaldo Alonso ruled out for 2017 MLS Cup

TORONTO - The Seattle Sounders will have to make do without captain Osvaldo Alonso in their quest to repeat as MLS Cup champions.

The Cuban midfielder failed a fitness test Thursday and was ruled out of Saturday’s MLS Cup final against Supporters’ Shield-winners Toronto FC (4 pm ET; ESPN, UniMás in US | TSN, TVAS in Canada).

“We’re sad about that,” Sounders head coach Brian Schmetzer said. “He’s a tough competitor so it was tough news to take.

“He’s disappointed,” Schmetzer added. “He wants to do whatever he can to help the team, he’s the captain of the team. It’s a bit of a blow but we’re going to deal with it.”

Alonso suffered a strained quadriceps muscle in September and did not return to the field until making a substitute appearance in the first leg of the Western Conference Semifinals against Vancouver, coming on for the final 16 minutes. Alonso had hoped to start the second leg of that series but was unable to, and did not feature against Houston in the Western Conference Championship.

“The desire is there but I can’t. I can’t,” Alonso told MLSsoccer.com following the afternoon training session. “I feel okay, but I have had a lot of setbacks and I won’t be able to play. I had another setback a few days before the [Nov. 30] game against Houston, but I can’t. I tried to be ready for this, but the injury won’t allow me.”

Even though he’s unable to play, Schmetzer expects Alonso to provide input and assistance to his teammates.

“He certainly will be a big influence in the locker room,” Schmetzer said. “I hope, as captain, that he can lift another cup.”

Alonso battled through a sore knee to play all 120 minutes of last year’s final, which saw Seattle beat host Toronto on penalty kicks.

With their captain out, the Sounders will likely turn to Swedish international Gustav Svensson to fill in at the defensive midfield spot. Svensson has proven more than capable at the position throughout the season, in addition to playing center back and right back.

“It is going to be difficult because I get more nervous when I am out of a game and watching than when I am in and playing, because I can’t control proceedings,” said Alonso. “But I’ll be there with the team, supporting them from the outside, and I know they are going to give it their all in order to try and win.”

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