Seattle Sounders Know Needs in MLS Draft, Know Direction, Veil Everything

With only two days before the MLS SuperDraft the Seattle Sounders should know their direction, and of course they do. What they also know is that with their significant amount of second round picks they see a great opportunity to add depth. Which is what they need.

Sigi Schmid sees the draft as lacking high end talents, but great depth.

For me, this draft in particular, there’s some quality guys at the top of this draft that you sort of want to say are no brainers and can make it for sure. But I think then there’s a pool of another 20-30 guys that you are not quite sure which ones of those 20-30 are going to make it. You’re hoping the guy that you pick is the one that is going to make it.

With US Soccer still stuck in the athletes v player debate (hey, so is the NFL with QBs see Locker, Jake and Newton, Cam). How will the Sounders do with that balance?

Sometimes I lean more toward soccer player

Even there he couches his statement. He and Chris Henderson are hiding their interests, and while there are clues, we are left to guess. Here's Schmid talking about his impressions of the Combine.

Unfortunately, I can’t answer that question because I think all the coaches are the same. Everybody is scouring everybody else’s website. Everybody is scouring the internet to see if there is a clue or something out there that might give a person an idea of which way this team is leaning or what they are looking at. When you have to pick like we do at 27 and 29 you say, ‘Well, if the guy we want at 29, if we pick this other guy at 27, will he still be there? Are those guys going to grab him? Is that what they are looking for?’ Unfortunately, I can’t answer your question. In general to answer it though I think most of the guys played at their level. I think that the two obvious top picks are Perry Kitchen and Darlington Nagbe. Nagbe wasn’t here but Kitchen played with the Under-20’s and he certainly played at his level. There are some guys who probably underperformed and there’s some people that would agree on that. And there’s some guys in the combine that were additions after some players dropped out or were injured that certainly helped themselves and moved themselves up the chart. I hope you understand why I can’t really directly answer that.

See, it is just tea leaves. Two players he named, and that's it. And at worse one of those might get picked third. Sure, Sigi talked about Salgado as well (there's no way he falls to 11).  Now, because John Rooney trained with the Sounders a direct question was asked, but even that is vague.

He certainly was in the top two or three foreign players for sure. I thought he did well. Obviously got a goal. […] He always gives you work rate. That’s what we saw at practice. He has got some pretty good soccer to him as well. I think he did well.

Those other few internationals? Well, we know Marlon Gonchazo is highly regarded. Jaoa Plata has scored several times. Victor Estupinian could be a top 30 as well. But that's then 4 in the top 30. Not two or three.

Is this all a way to trade up-down-sideways?

Yep. Chris Henderson didn't quite hint at it.

Things are going to start heating up as we get towards Thursday. I’m sure there’s going to be a lot of talk between teams in Baltimore. We are open to that. If we feel there’s a situation that’s going to make our club stronger or can make our club stronger through some moves we are going to be open to that. We think we have a strong roster and a strong core of players. There are a few spots we would like to add and hopefully the draft works our way that we can add some depth and add to our roster. But we are definitely going to be talking to teams as well, seeing what’s open.

See that's the thing. The list of possibilities keeps getting longer. Dizzo's has grown to nearly two dozen.

We know so little and can only guess. The hints are at Keeper, Outside Mid, Right Back and Central Mid. But they'll also take the best available player.

But in general, it’s certainly easier to step on the field as a defender. There’s some good defenders in this draft. There’s also some good attackers in this draft. Whether they are going to fall to number 11 and we have the opportunity to get a hold of one of those. If there’s a good attacker there we are going to take him. We are not going to say it’s going to be easier for a defender to adjust so we are going to take a second-tier defender if there’s a first quality attacker still on the board that we think can help us.

Oddly enough when a team spends so much of their pre-draft speech on keepers, I'm going to bet strongly against. Not just because we have evidence that it isn't the best use of first round pick. Here's the sizable content on Keepers. If MacMath is available and they pass don't be stunned.

Schmid: "Goalkeeper is a unique position. They get better with more experience and with more age. When I was coaching at UCLA, every goalkeeper that I had […] redshirted at least a year. […] That was on a very small scale but it was the same thing. I figured when they came in and they could observe for a year and learn for a year that was going to be a benefit to them. The other thing is goalkeepers sometimes develop later than other field players. Goalkeepers, again, are unique in that you don’t just look at who got selected for the Under-17 and that must be the best goalkeeper in the land because there’s a lot of goalkeepers that develop later and pass that person by so we have to be cognizant of looking at that. But a player is going to play when he is ready. The goalkeepers are unique in that as they get older they are sort of like good wine, they age well."

 

Henderson: "If you look at the coaches in this country I think Sigi’s developed the best goalies probably in the history of American soccer. So we are hoping he can do that here in Seattle, too."

Sure, when I think Sigi Schmid I think Keepers developed through the draft... I don't think of GBS. I don't think of Frankie Hejduk. I don't think of Brad Evans or Eddie Gaven. I don't think of a system.

Nevermind. While Sigi has some keeper cred under his belt. Most people know Sigi for a brilliant tactician and solid developer of talent with a firm system at the MLS level.

Whether the Sounders pick twice or five times. It won't be based on position. Today's call just confirmed what our readers have known for some time.

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