While there were many keys Seattle Sounders Struggling with injuries last year, perhaps the most frustrating situation was that of Raul Ruidiaz. It wasn’t just that the forward was limited to a career-low in minutes (1,302 in the regular season), it was that he was sidelined multiple times with muscle injuries. There were at least three separate instances that kept him out of 20 games.
The 32-year-old is clearly determined not to let that happen again. Appearing at MLS Media Day in California, he told reporters “it’s going to be a completely different year” and the Sounders coaches have been impressed with his fitness at the start of training camp.
Raul Ruidiaz: “It’s going to be a very different year” for the Sounders. Coaches have been impressed by the form he has arrived in ahead of the FIFA Club World Cup and MLS season.
— Andy Deossa (@Andy_Deossa) January 10, 2023
Just putting Ruidiaz on the field more often could be the difference between making the playoffs and missing out for the Sounders. Although Ruidiaz’s .62 goals per 90 minutes was below his MLS career average (.68), it was still good enough to rank in the top 20 in the league. Perhaps more importantly, Sounders averaged 2.0 goals per game in all competitions when he started versus 1.13 in games he did not play.
The addition of Haber should help bridge that gap, but a healthy Ruidiaz would undoubtedly be a big boost for the Sounders.