By Don Ruiz The News Tribune
The Seattle Sounders go into each match with a plan for which player will take a penalty kick if one is awarded.
That went out the window Saturday, as a PK was awarded and defensive midfielder Osvaldo Alonso was allowed to take it for family reasons.
The try was no good — pushed off target by diving Philadelphia goalkeeper Zac MacMath. However, it didn’t cost the Sounders anything in the standings as they came from behind for a 2-1 win.
Afterward, the team — and its coach — portrayed Alonso’s miss as a small price to pay for what they saw as united teammates looking after each other.
“There’s a tremendous character in (our locker room), and there’s a respect for each other,” coach Sigi Schmid said. “As a result of that, they made a decision … and they backed each other up on that and they fought for each other. … They love Ozzie; Ozzie loves our team. He wouldn’t do anything to hurt our team, and they wouldn’t do anything to allow Ozzie to get hurt.”
Schmid and some players even speculated that the team might have fought harder after the miss to make sure that their show of support for Alonso didn’t cost them a game.
“We’re a team,” Lamar Neagle said. “We all support each other, and we all believe in each other.”
The Sounders said Alonso wanted to take the kick in honor of a couple of family milestones: his wife is pregnant with their third child, and his daughter was about to celebrate a birthday.
However, veteran defender Djimi Traore also pointed out that awarding the kick to Alonso wasn’t necessarily a matter of sacrificing a goal for the sake of team building. Alonso has scored eight goals over his six MLS seasons, and he had converted one of two previous PK attempts. Meanwhile, MacMath has now stopped all three penalty kicks he has faced this season.
“It’s not like Ozzie is a young player or rookie stepping in to take the PK,” Traore said. “Of course, yes, it’s not like the final or something like that. It was a great opportunity for him to score. Unfortunately, he missed; but you can see the response of the team.”
Left back options
When veteran Seattle left back Leo Gonzalez has been unavailable due to injury this season, second-year defender Dylan Remick has stepped in.
Now Remick has gone down to an injury of his own, and Schmid is weighing a number of options.
When Remick left in the second half Saturday, Schmid subbed Marco Pappa into midfield and shifted Brad Evans to left back. But after the Sounders’ training session Monday, Schmid stressed that was a specific choice for specific needs that may not be repeated Wednesday when FC Dallas visits CenturyLink Field.
“We’ve got other options,” he said. “Zach Scott is an option. He’s played left back for us a lot over the past few years, so he’s certainly an option there. Micheal Azira can play both outside right or outside left back as well in a pinch. We went with (Evans) in the game because we were losing 1-0, we wanted to get Pappa onto the field, and we thought it made us a more offensive team by keeping Brad at left back.”
Schmid also hasn’t ruled out the most straightforward option: restoring Gonzalez to his regular starting spot. That seems mostly a question of health and fitness as Gonzalez works his way back from a hamstring injury that has kept him out for the past two matches.
Gonzalez trained Monday, and Schmid indicated that even if he isn’t ready for Wednesday, he seems certain to be ready in time for the Sounders’ match Sunday at New England.
Meanwhile, Schmid estimated that Remick will be out one or two weeks with what was diagnosed as a left ankle sprain after X-rays came back negative.