If anybody still wondered what's left in Minnesota United captain Ozzie Alonso's legs, data collected every game measuring how fast and far he runs provides answers.
If they still wondered what's left inside a week before his 36th birthday, his heated postgame encounter with Los Angeles FC coach Bob Bradley after Saturday's 1-1 draw at Allianz Field reminds.
"His fire certainly hasn't diminished, I can vouch for that," Loons coach Adrian Heath said. "That's what makes him the player he is."
When the club re-signed Alonso last March for a 13th MLS season, you might have assumed it'd be a season transitioning from spot duty to a new management role eventually. Instead, he has started nine of the past 12 games entering Wednesday's game at Vancouver with three games left and a playoff spot on the line for both teams.
He has done so playing all 90-plus minutes most times out alongside Wil Trapp or Hassani Dotson in the defensive midfield — or both.
Trapp was the player signed last winter to succeed Alonso at the "No. 6" position. They've become playing partners as the season progressed.
"They're both good football players, both good continuity players," Heath said. "They very, very rarely turn the ball over when it goes to them. They're very consistent in what they do. They're both smart. They both get the game. More importantly, they both get the role we ask of them."
The data the team collects about its players each game has left Heath somewhat slackjawed. Alonso is in his third season in Minnesota after 10 winning seasons in Seattle.
"Ozzie is defying logic, really," Heath said. "The amount of distance he's covering, the high-speed running, it's the best since he's been here. When you consider his age and the amount of miles he has on the clock for what he's done the last 10 to 12 years, it speaks volumes about how he looks after himself."
Seattle and other MLS teams might have thought his career was almost over when the Sounders traded him to Minnesota before the 2019 season.
He started all 27 games he played that first season with the Loons, who with a series of moves made the playoffs for the first time in their three MLS seasons. Alonso started nine of 10 games he played in an injury- and pandemic-shortened 2020 season. This season, he has started 13 of 22 games he has played.
"That's tough to do at 35," teammate Ethan Finlay said. "Playing as many minutes as he is and to stay as healthy as he is, that's testament to him taking care of his body."
Heath and his staff have monitored and tried to carefully measure playing time and workload for a player who often won't have it.
Wednesday's game takes Alonso and the Loons to Vancouver, a team Alonso battled for a decade when he played in Seattle. The two teams and Portland annually compete for the supporters'-supported Cascadia Cup trophy.
Heath met with Alonso on Monday to discuss whether — or how much — he could play Wednesday on three days' rest
"We spoke briefly and it was very brief," Heath said. "What did he think about this week? 'Oh no, I'm ready. I'm ready to go.' Trust me, the old Cascadia stuff up there still goes through his mind. He doesn't want to miss this one for sure."
Alonso was the first one up after a dangerous collision with the referee and LAFC's Kim Moon-Hwan Saturday.After the game, he stuck a finger in Bradley's face after Bradley interrupted Alonso's discussion with the referee by trying to push him aside.
"I tell him, 'Don't push me,' you have to respect me because I respect him," Alonso said afterward.
Heath said that's just who Alonso is.
"That's what makes him the player he is," Heath said. "He hates losing, in training, at tennis. That's just his nature. That has stood him in good stead all these years. People might have thought [his career was over] when he left Seattle. It's his third year here now and he's still going strong, doing great."