Ever since the Seattle Sounders‘ perennial MLS Best XI and MLS All-Star midfielder Osvaldo Alonso pulled up lame with a hamstring strain in the second leg of the Western Conference semifinals, his status for the first leg of the Western Conference Championship against the LA Galaxy (Sunday, 5 pm ET) has been in doubt.
While the league’s observance of this week’s FIFA international dates has been a huge boon in Alonso’s race for fitness, hamstring injuries remain one of the trickiest ailments from which to return.
“We’ll know more as we go forward each day. Our expectation is that he’ll be able to make it back for the game in LA. We’ll go through the protocol, and obviously for the rest for this week we’re going to keep him off the field and try to get the treatment in and get him on the field next week.”
That was Sounders head coach Sigi Schmid early last week, two days after Alonso sustained the injury.
On Monday, Schmid, when asked for an update on Alonso’s status for Sunday, left things very much up in the air.
Schmid said Alonso did gym work today, that he’s progressing on schedule and that the midfielder could still be an option for Sunday
— Matt Pentz (@mattpentz) November 17, 2014
Losing Alonso, one of MLS’s very best midfielders and the hub for everything the Sounders do defensively and offensively, would be a massive leg-up for the Galaxy, the only team in MLS boasting a counter-attack near as potent as the Sounders.
If Alonso is unable to go on Sunday, Michael Azira, who became Alonso’s 56th-minute replacement following the injury, could be handed his seventh start of the season, while Alonso’s regular midfield partner Gonzalo Pineda could be asked to take up a more defensive role in hopes of stifling the Galaxy attack and earning an away draw before the series is decided in Seattle a week later.