Osvaldo Alonso, a first team All-USL First Division midfielder and league rookie of the year in 2008, has signed with Seattle Sounders FC.
Not surprisingly, all early opinions are optimistic.
I asked Alonso for a self-scouting report on what he can bring.
"He can help a lot in the defense and attacking," his interpreter said from Alonzo's response in Spanish. "He's very equal in terms of being able to attack and play defense. He plays the ball extremely well."
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And this, from coach Sigi Schmid: "He's a good player, that's why we wanted to get him. He had actually trained with us a year ago when I was with Columbus … but our midfielder line was a little bit deeper and it was a situation where he was coming off not having played for a while, so we felt that there was talent there but he wasn't going to displace anybody on our team at the moment and we said hey you have to go find a team, which he did. He had a good season at Charleston. He'll be OK."
Here's the Sounders' release:
Sounders FC acquired Alonso's rights from the Charleston Battery of USL-1. Per club and Major League Soccer policy, terms of the deal were not disclosed. He will be added to the club's official roster upon the arrival of his transfer documents.
Alonso, 23, started 31 games for the Charleston Battery last summer, scoring four goals and adding two assists. He also scored two goals in Open Cup play and another in the USL postseason. The Battery advanced to the U.S. Open Cup final, losing to D.C. United, and also qualified for the USL-1 playoffs.
A native of Cuba, Alonso defected during the 2007 CONCACAF Gold Cup in Houston. He made 17 international appearances for Cuba, scoring twice. Earlier he served as captain of the U-23 national team during qualifying for the 2008 Olympic Games.
"It's great to get a player like Alonso," said Sounders FC head coach Sigi Schmid. "As a technical central midfielder, he's very good with the ball, a clever passer and he's coming off a very successful USL season."
Alonso played three years (2005-07) for FC Pinar del Rio, winner of the Cuban championship in 2006.
Transaction: Seattle Sounders (MLS) – Signed MF Osvaldo Alonso
Hometown: San Cristóbal, Cuba
Last Club: Charleston Battery (USL-1)