MLS Soccer

End of an era for Sounders: Osvaldo Alonso signs with Minnesota United FC

Seattle Sounders coach Brian Schmetzer, left, and midfielder Osvaldo Alonso heft the championship trophy before a march and rally Tuesday in Seattle celebrating the team’s MLS Cup Championship. Seattle beat Toronto FC 5-4 in a penalty kick shootout Saturday to win their first MLS championship.
Seattle Sounders coach Brian Schmetzer, left, and midfielder Osvaldo Alonso heft the championship trophy before a march and rally Tuesday in Seattle celebrating the team’s MLS Cup Championship. Seattle beat Toronto FC 5-4 in a penalty kick shootout Saturday to win their first MLS championship. The Associated Press

The Seattle Sounders all-time leader in appearances, starts, and minutes will play for a new team this season.

On Thursday, Minnesota United FC officially announced the signing of midfielder Osvaldo Alonso, the last of the original Sounders who began with the team in its debut season of 2009.

Sounders head coach Brian Schmetzer has coached Alonso since his arrival in 2009 spoke glowingly about one of the franchises more iconic players.

“We have seen many great players that have played for our club, but none have had as much influence as Osvaldo Alonso.” Schmetzer said.

“His drive and determination to win was evident from the first day of training, his first game, and continued throughout all of the successful years he had with Sounders FC. I feel fortunate to have been able to coach such a tremendous player. We watched his game evolve, his influence grow to where he eventually led us as captain to our first MLS Cup. I want to personally thank him for his play for the last 10 years. We will miss ‘El Corazon.’”

Alonso, a native of San Cristobal, Cuba, is a five-time team MVP (2010-2013, 2016), four-time MLS All-Star (2011-2014) and a 2012 MLS Best XI selection. His 339 appearances across all competitions are just 13 behind Zach Scott for the most in Sounders history dating back to 1974.

“Ozzie has been a tremendous member of our organization for the past 10 years,” Sounders director and VP of soccer Chris Henderson said.

“Despite his numerous accolades, I think his contributions on the field have gone somewhat underappreciated, as he has been one of the best players across the league during his time in Seattle. He has been integral to so many of the club’s most memorable moments and will always be a member of the Sounders family. I can’t thank him enough and wish him the best of luck going forward.”

Alonso was apart of four Lamar Hunt US Open Cup titles (2009-11, 2014), the 2014 Supporters Shield winners and the 2016 MLS Cup championship.

“From the get-go, Ozzie looked out for me,” Sounders midfielder Cristian Roldan said. “I felt that he would be a very good influence on me, personally and also as a player. He is a leader, a dynamic player, and just overall what a professional should be. I always viewed him as a complete package and was personally very excited to play alongside him and watch his habits.

“He’s an incredibly gifted player and will always be remembered as a Sounders legend.”

The Sounders will have two chances during the regular season to have a reunion with Alonso. Seattle travels to Minnesota on May 4. Alonso will make his return to Seattle on Oct. 6.

The MLS world reacted to the signing with very heartfelt posts.

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