Sounders midfielder Osvaldo Alonso won’t play in Saturday’s MLS Cup final after failing a physical Thursday.
TORONTO — Sounders midfielder Osvaldo Alonso won’t play in Saturday’s MLS Cup final after failing a physical Thursday that he needed to pass to have any hope of getting on the field.
Alonso played in last year’s final only after taking painkiller injections to deal with damaged ligaments in his knee. He’d suffered through a variety of similar knee issues this season and hasn’t played since late September after suffering a quad injury.
“What’s meant to be is meant to be,’’ Alonso said, standing in street clothes as the Sounders worked out at Toronto FC’s indoor training facility in the northern part of the city.
There had never been a question of Alonso starting the game, given he hasn’t played in 2½ months. But Sounders coach Brian Schmetzer had been hopeful of getting Alonso some playing time off the bench if circumstances allowed for it.
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“He’s very disappointed,’’ Schmetzer said. “He wants to do whatever he can to help the team. He’s the captain of the team. So it’s a bit of a blow. But we’re going to deal with it.’’
It seems Toronto FC brass isn’t done trying to play mind games with the Sounders.
First, it was TFC coach Greg Vanney telling reporters earlier in the week he wasn’t sure the defending champion Sounders were ready for the “intensity” of an MLS Cup given the Eastern Conference had better teams than the Western side this season.
Then, on Wednesday, Reds general manager Tim Bezbatchenko went on Sportsnet radio in Toronto and took a subtle jab at the Sounders for the defensive style used to win last year’s battle. While acknowledging the style worked for the Sounders to win a title, Bezbatchenko quickly added he hopes they come out more aggressively this time.
“I sure hope so,’’ he said. “I hope they come out and that they want to play. Play soccer and give the fans what they want to see, which is an entertaining match. I don’t fault them for doing what they needed to do to win last year, I suppose. But at the same time, they have a really talented team.’’
Bezbatchenko’s own side would no doubt love to bait the Sounders into a wide-open affair the fearsome TFC attack can exploit. So far these playoffs, teams have had success against Toronto by playing…