By John Boyle Herald Writer
If Sounders FC is going to end a three-game winless stretch Saturday night in Los Angeles, it is going to have to do so without one of its best players.
Midfielder Osvaldo Alonso, who has started 11 of 12 games and logged more minutes this season than any Sounders player other than Fredy Montero, has been suspended two games and fined an undisclosed amount, Major League Soccer announced Friday.
The league said in a press release that Alonso’s suspension was for “a reckless challenge in the 82nd minute of Wednesday’s game that endangered the safety of his opponent, Columbus Crew midfielder Cole Grossman.”
The foul was missed by the referee late in Wednesday’s 2-0 Sounders loss, but replays showed Alonso came in late and with both feet, upending Grossman. Two-footed challenges are usually automatic red cards in soccer, so the suspension doesn’t come as a surprise in a season in which MLS is routinely handing out retroactive punishment.
Alonso, one of the best defensive midfielders in the league, has been one of Seattle’s most valuable players over the past three seasons. Who will fill in for him remains to be seen, but Sounders FC does have good depth at midfield, so while Alonso’s presence will certainly be missed, Seattle coach Sigi Schmid has options.
In addition to Saturday’s game in Los Angeles, Alonso will miss a June 16 game in Montreal. However, he will be eligible to play in next week’s U.S. Open Cup game since the punishment applies only to league contests.