Minnesota United midfielder Osvaldo Alonso is no stranger to the postseason. In fact, one of the only things he hasn’t done in his MLS career is fail to make the playoffs. His teams have advanced to the postseason in each of his 13 seasons. While his last two appearances were for Minnesota United, the first 10 were for his former team, the Seattle Sounders. After signing with Seattle in 2008, Alonso quickly became a key player for the Sounders. By his second season with the team, the defensive midfielder was voted the Team MVP, a title that he would win four more times while in Seattle. He would go on to represent Seattle 278 times before his trade to MNUFC in January of 2019. While Alonso may no longer represent the Emerald City, old habits (and Pacific Northwest rivalries) die hard.
When it comes to American soccer rivalries, few if any compare in intensity to the one between the Seattle Sounders and the Portland Timbers. The Cascadia region rivals are both known for the dedication of their fanbases and they are not quick to forget the face of a former foe. Every time Alonso has gone to Providence Park as a Loon, he’s gotten an earful from the Timbers Army for his long and sometimes contentious tenure with Seattle. While he was with the Sounders, his squad won the Cascadia Cup three times to the Timbers’ two.
Overall, Alonso has a winning record against the Portland Timbers. During his tenure in Seattle, Alonso accrued a record of 10-9-7 against the Portland Timbers (once they became the 18th MLS franchise in 2011). Since joining Minnesota United, Alonso has yet to lose a game to the Timbers with an overall record of 5-0-1. Put together, that gives Alonso a record of 15-9-8 in the 32 appearances he has made against the Portland Timbers. Fifty-four points in 32 games is not too shabby.
How will Alonso’s 33rd match against the Timbers go? It's hard to say, but if history is any indicator, Sunday's game in Portland should be a tight one. If Alonso is good to go, he will certainly step onto the familiar surface at Providence Park wearing the captain’s armband, knowing that making the playoffs is not an achievement in itself, but just a necessary step on the way to the true goal of lifting MLS Cup.