Seattle Sounders coach Sigi Schmid says Cuban defector Osvaldo Alonso has the world at his feet. Alonso was superb for Sounders FC in last week's stunning 3-0 victory over New York Red Bull and Schmid told mlsnet.com: "Osvaldo is not that big of a guy but he's a very, very good defender.
"He's a very good one-on-one defender; he's very good at closing down space; and he's extremely tenacious as a defender. Once he's got his hooks in you, he doesn't let you go."
Schmid also gave the Cuban a look while in charge of the Columbus Crew. According to Schmid, Alonso's talent was never at issue -- he just couldn't find a spot on the roster for him.
"It all depends on situations that you're put in. By the time we saw him, we already had our midfield set," Schmid said. "In our league, when you find a good player you have to drop somebody to add somebody. For Osvaldo, as an example in Columbus, the guy who might have been dropped is Brad Evans. And now the two of them are playing together."
Instead, Alonso spent last season with the USL-1 Charleston Battery. Based on his fine season for the Battery (31 starts, 8 goals), Alonso was named the USL Rookie of the Year in 2008.
"For many players, it's MLS or bust. To his credit, he went down and toiled in USL. We saw that," Schmid said. "We actually inquired about bringing him up at the end of last year with Columbus. At that point we were told 'no' and the number had increased tremendously to get him."