Had a strange thought this week that I wanted to share while it is fresh in my mind. I was musing over the Sounders' depth chart and a comment that I saw this week that pointed out that Sigi has a tendency to convert midfielders into defensive wings. The depth of the team is tantamount for the Sounders continued success, particularly when the team faces the type of schedule congestion we've enjoyed for the past two seasons. But it also creates some interesting opportunities for the players and the coaching staff to color outside of the lines.
Looking forward, next year should see the return of Zakuani to the starting 11. After the Sounders secure a starting keeper in the off season, I would expect them to consider looking for ways to continue to improve at both the forward position and defensive wing. The interesting aspect of this situation is that the midfield and forward areas will become even more crowded. Montero, Rosales, Flaco, Evans, Friberg, Zakuani, Fucito, Neagle, Alonso and Carrasco will all compete for minutes. If OBW, Sanyang and Ochoa all throw down the gauntlet, things could get really interesting even without any offseason additions. This isn't a bad thing. Injuries happen. Flexibility and depth matter. But this congestion could also become a problem. One way to address it is to adapt formations and positions to leverage skills in new ways. Imagine the following lineup:
Zak Friberg/Evans Rosales
Neagle Alonso Flaco
Yes. This borders on heresy. Yes. It isn't the most appropriate thought for the current season and the current situation. But the simple fact is that it intrigues me. Both Neagle and Flaco have the core skills to play defensive wing. They would need to adapt their play. But the possibilities this opens up and the offensive threat it poses could terrorize opposing coaches and central defenders. As in padded cell, babbling incoherently in the corner of the pitch in the fetal position terror. Imagine the overlapping and late runs particularly if Evans is the attacking midfielder. Imagine this same line up with a stud target forward.
Made me drool. So I thought I would share.