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Seattle Sounders midfielder Osvaldo Alonso near full health, eyes return

Seattle Sounders defensive midfielder Osvaldo Alonso returned to fully participating in team training after rehabbing a quad injury for the last seven months. Alonso has not started a match for Seattle since he suffered the injury against Vancouver Sept. 27.

“It’s been a while,” Alonso said Wednesday. “I’m very happy to be back. I’m ready to go and ready to play for the team again.”

After anchoring Seattle in 2016 with 32 appearances (all starts) during the regular season, Alonso suffered a series of injuries in 2017 that limited him to 26 regular season appearances and a 16-minute stint as a substitute in the Western Conference semifinals against the Whitecaps.

Alonso reportedly re-aggravated his injury during preseason training, extending his time away from the first team. The 32-year-old holding midfielder, who has been named Seattle’s team MVP five times since joining the Sounders, said the start of the season has been difficult to watch from the sidelines.

“It’s hard when you’re injured and outside the field, but it is what it is,” Alonso said. “Everything happens for a reason. You’ve got to look forward. Now I’m back to training so that’s more important; that I’m back to training and ready to go.”

Seattle head coach Brian Schmetzer will be happy to have Alonso back. An incoherent Sounders defense has conceded 12 goals in seven matches across all competitions, clearly missing the Cuban who led MLS in 2016 in tackles, touches and passes completed.

Schmetzer, speaking to the media Friday, said the return of Alonso would be a big boost to his winless team.

“He’s training in full,” Schmetzer said. “He’s been training in full for a while. His last little testing he’s passed. It will be a huge lift for the squad. You guys have seen for the last ten years. (He’s) tenacious, he’s really hungry to get back on the field and make an impact. I think you’ll get that energy out of him. He was a guy that in years past, his possession percentages were huge. He’s not afraid to get the ball and start our attacking movements.”

The Sounders will take Sunday and Monday off from training, before beginning preparations for their road match against Sporting Kansas City Apr. 15.

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