The Seattle Sounders beat the New England Revolution on Sunday through quality players that at one point were considered merely depth, but are now clearly depth in quality. Tyson Wahl, who just a few short weeks ago expected to not be the player taking free kicks and so did not expect to get a goal, just mere assists. In the 34th minute he stood above the ball and delivered another sublime free kick, perfectly placed and unable to be saved to draw the Sounders level.
Less than ten minutes later Roger Levesque tapped the ball over in the box to a running Alvaro Fernandez who powered it into goal. Levesque's spot start came after a solid performance against New York Red Bulls last week, but today we saw him winning headers and harassing keepers. Three months ago he was a mere afterthought by most fans when thinking about MLS play. He is now responsible for two wins within a week.
This is what quality depth does. It grinds out points at the hardest times and succeeds during others. On a quality Sunday afternoon, several non-regulars stepped up, and though they played one of the weakest teams in the League they won. Servando Carrasco did a fair, if not better job, against two amazing midfielders. Lamar Neagle created some chances and Patrick Ianni stepped up in an early replacement for the injured Jeff Parke.
For all the troubles that Sigi Schmid's men have had, a short run of form should be as valid an indication of his ability as those short runs of trouble. His lineup choices are no longer formulaic, but instead based on the health of the club, the short team needs in multiple tournaments, form of specific players and based on tactical advantages that Seattle should have. Four wins in the last six, two against quality opponents have pushed Seattle into a clear striking distance of the Supporters Shield. They are 4th by PPM, 4th by Goals Against Per Match, 6th by Goals For per, and 3rd by Goal Differential.
Welcome to the team you wanted.