Needed reinforcements have arrived for Seattle Sounders FC ahead of their post-World Cup final showdown against Atlanta United (2 pm ET | FOX - Full TV & Streaming info) with Gustav Svensson and Raul Ruidiaz, who competed for Sweden and Peru, respectively, in Russia, joining the team in Atlanta.
However, a World Cup veteran stayed in Seattle with Clint Dempsey nursing groin tightness.
“It was a welcomed sight when the guys walked into dinner last night,” Sounders coach Brian Schmetzer said on Saturday after practice at Atlanta United's training facility.
One came straight from Sweden, the other flew in from Peru. Over the last couple weeks, they were both in Russia.— Seattle Sounders FC (@SoundersFC) July 15, 2018
Now Gustav Svensson and Raúl Ruidíaz are with the club in Atlanta for #ATLvSEA ➡️ https://t.co/MTPtqZdiGZ pic.twitter.com/Fc18r2xw2e
Svensson returns after spending several days in Sweden following his team’s run to the quarterfinals where they lost to England, 2-0, last Saturday.
The 31-year-old defensive midfielder is trying to turn the page after an emotionally draining experience in Russia.
“I am doing my best to be focused on tomorrow,” Svensson said. “It’s not easy. You’re pretty empty on emotions after as big of a thing like the World Cup.”
Ruidiaz is the club’s newest Designated Player, with the 27-year-old forward spending time in Morelia, Mexico, where he competed in Liga MX, and Lima, Peru following the World Cup.
With paperwork cleared, Ruidiaz is available for selection, but Schmetzer tempers expectations when it comes to his inclusion against Atlanta.
“It’s his second training session, so we have to be careful with that,” Schmetzer said. “There are baby steps there, but he is going to incorporate fine with the group. He wants to be here, he wants to win.”