Sounders FC

Osvaldo Alonso, a difference-making presence, returns to Sounders midfield

Seattle Sounders FC is 8-2-1 with Osvaldo Alonso in the lineup and 2-5-1 without him.

Not surprisingly, the club was happy to have him return Friday after a five-game absence due to a left hamstring strain.

Also not surprisingly – given the numbers – the Sounders snapped a three-game losing streak with a 1-0 win over Major League Soccer points leader DC United. Alonso was absent during the losing streak, but he played all 90 minutes in his return.

“We played him more minutes than we wanted to play him,” coach Sigi Schmid said. “We talked about that at halftime, ‘Look, we need to make a goalkeeper sub, so I probably need you to go 90 minutes.’ We needed him to sit a little more in the second half — not to wander as much as he did in the first half, because if he did that in the second half he would eventually run out of gas. I thought he did a good job in managing his minutes.”

Alonso was back at training with his team Monday and said he came through his return performance feeling healthy.

“Happy to be out (training),” he said. “Now fortunately I’m back to the field. Got to keep playing. Looking forward.”

Directly ahead is a trip to Chicago, where the Sounders will meet the Fire at 5:30 p.m. Saturday.

Seattle’s other two designated players will be missing. Clint Dempsey remains away with the United States national team, while Obafemi Martins continues to work his way back from a leg injury.

However, Alonso should be available again and the four-time club MVP sounded confident that he and his teammates were up to the challenge.

“We lost a couple of players to the national team, but we’ve got enough players to fill that spot,” he said. “Saturday night we go there to Chicago and prove our game. It doesn’t matter who’s playing, the three points is more important.”

INTERNATIONAL MATTERS

The United States men’s team will begin CONCACAF Gold Cup play against Honduras Tuesday, just two days after the U.S. women earned their third World Cup with a 5-2 win over Japan.

“I thought it was a great result for our women’s team,” Schmid said. “They saved the best for last. They played stronger and stronger as the tournament went on. Any time you can get a 3-0 lead in 15 minutes, that sort of relaxes you a little bit and you can enjoy the game a little bit.”

Schmid also was asked about the men’s team, which includes Dempsey and Sounders defender/midfielder Brad Evans.

“Our team and Mexico are probably the two favorites,” Schmid said. “(Coach Jurgen Klinsmann) brought a strong team; Mexico brought a strong team as well. The competition begins. Honduras is a difficult opponent because physically they’ve got some good strength and size, but I think the U.S. is capable of winning for sure.”

EXTRA TIME

Goalkeeper Stefan Frei was scheduled for X-rays Monday after injuring his left shoulder in the first half against D.C. United. Schmid said the this will not be a long-term injury. However, Troy Perkins projects as the starting keeper for this weekend, with rookie Charlie Lyon in reserve. … Newly acquired midfielder Eric Friber g remains in Europe awaiting his international paperwork. His status for the Chicago game is uncertain, but increasingly doubtful. … Former Sounders defender Jhon Kennedy Hurtado (2009-13) visited training Monday.

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