The Seattle Sounders run to the MLS Cup final aligned with Osvaldo Alonso playing the best soccer of the season – so any injuries to him would be reason to worry. When he suffered a knee sprain in the second leg of the Western Conference final, it was a threat to Seattle's title chances and he was listed as questionable for the final by the club.
But manager Brian Schmetzer insisted on Friday that Alonso was OK and would play on in the MLS Cup on Saturday (8 p.m. ET, FOX).
“He's on a different training plan,” Schmetzer said after Alonso spent part of Friday's training session working away from the rest of the team. But the manager insisted, “he will play tomorrow.”
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Alonso has been with the Sounders since their expansion season and has been one of the best defensive midfielders in the league over the last eight years. His form dipped a bit in the last couple years, which some attributed to the 31-year-old's age, but he was sublime this season, especially in the second half. He was as smart as ever, typically strong defensively and put up some of the most efficient passing numbers in the league.
Not coincidentally, the Sounders surged from one of the worst teams in the league midseason into the playoffs and now, into the final.
Not having Alonso for the final would have been a massive blow to Seattle's chances. It also would have been tough for Alonso to take personally, after putting so much into the club and being around since Year 1. He was crying on the bench when the final whistle blew in the Western Conference final, overcome that he and the Sounders were finally into the MLS Cup final. And he will be playing in that final.