FanPost

If I Were Adrian And Co. - My Shot At This Off Season

Let me begin my fantasy version of this off-season by explaining my background. I am a Sounders Die-hard, a Tottenham Hottspur fan, a huge nerd, and a lover of tactical analysis. I also have no training at writing, so bear with me in that regard.

When news broke on this site (Sounders' salary cap situation comes into focus) that we had severely underestimated the Sounders' cap constraints, I began doing the roster math that I so love to do to see how I would get us out of this mess as a better team. I knew that it would require creativity in order to turn our current shortfall into a coup. The answer I came up with: a significant tactical change.

My inspiration for this tactical change came from a place were so many great ideas come from: stealing them from people smarter than you are. I chose to look at a system I have become familiar because of my other team, Tottenham. They have recently hired a new manager in one André Villas-Boas. For those of you who are unfamiliar, he is a young, brilliant manager, who was trained by one, Jose Mourinho. AVB has a system that he went undefeated with in the Portuguese league while winning the Treble. This system is the base of my changes to the Sounders' squad this off-season.

Let's break down the changes in three parts: Defense, Midfield, Forwards:

Defense:

The key point in my pidgin understanding of AVB's defensive system at Porto was the high defensive line. Catching the opponent offside with speedy defenders and an organized offside trap was key in this implementation. Also an aggressive keeper was used to handle attackers who beat the trap 1-v-1.

The effect I see this having on our lineup is simple: Defenders need to be fast. It just so works out that our starting caliber defender with the least pace is currently rumored to be unsettled.

ACTION:

Out

Sell Parke within MLS for allocation money. $150k would be fair and begin to help with our current overages.

Leo's speed isn't what it used to be so he will need to be dealt within MLS for whatever we can get for him. He still has quality, so I dont think $50K in allocation would be inconceivable.

In

This plan also requires a change recommended by Dave Clark in Sample OffSeason Shifts Seattle's Style, Age. I think we will need a young speedy left back as a youth DP in the realm of Ehsan Hajsafi, not that I can pronounce his name. Where this DP slot will come from, you'll have to hold on just a bit longer to find out. We then seek a younger, faster central defender like Opara in the Re-Entry Draft or another similar player (young, fast) as an international signing. Around $100-$130k should do and provide savings on Parke's spot. After that we bring in either DeAndre Yedlin or Wilmer Crisanto to be the back-up right back. In this formation, there will be no spot for one Zach Scott: Man Marker. I do not think it would be good business to cut or trade him, so we keep him on roster, primarily for his versatility in coming off the bench.

Midfield:

The key difference in this department will be the change to a three man central midfield. In AVB's Porto system, there were three specific jobs: A Runner, A Passer, A Tackler. This is the main reason why I think we will be so successful in this formation. It just so happens that we have a great one of each of these on the roster right now. Runner = Brad Evans, Passer = Christian Tiffert, Tackler = Osvaldo Alonso.

ACTION:

Out

This is where the change makes the most sense. As a result, the starters and depth currently on the roster are fully capable of filling these roles without cuts or major additions. Alex Caskey is the one question in my book. He may have the fitness to be the runner in this system, but I question his defense if played centrally. This does not necessitate moving him, but it may require that we look for other depth in this area and consider him a winger.

In

As far as this personnel group is concerned, we have what we need, but it is a position we could use depth. An international signing in the Erik Friberg mold at $100k would give us depth and competition that helps us push for the Supporter's Shield. Drafting a player who could play in one of these three positions would help us plan for the future and reduce minutes on the legs of our starters in multi-game weeks.

Forwards:

Note: I just want to bring up the fact that I think Montero is a golden god.

In this 4-3-3 system, the key to supporting the Central Striker is providing a Winger on one side to pump in crosses while an Inverted-Winger on the other side cuts in to help put the chances away. This was the place where AVB had the biggest talent at Porto. His free-roaming inverted winger was Hulk, a player of amazing skill. His center forward was no slouch himself in Falcao, now one of the better strikers in the world. While our players will not be this quality, they do have the skills necessary to play the same roles with success against MLS opposition. Our version of Hulk is the biggest gamble in my plan. It pins our hopes on the ability of Steve Zakuani to not just come back, but break through as one of the best players in the league.

ACTION:

Out

This is the hard part. To meet our cap requirements and our tactical adjustment, Fredy Montero must be sold outside the league. Unlike the suggestions I have seen here and on Twitter, he need not be sold for max allocation to make this move make sense. Any profit we gain from his sale will be able to be saved for the future to prevent this from happening again.

In

The remaining players on the roster should be able to slot into these spots with ease. The most significant change that would happen among the remaining forwards would be Estrada being used as a goal scoring inverted left winger. He has played like this for us before with limited success, but I think when played in this free-roaming role, he will have greater returns.

THE MATH:

Out

Last

First

Position

Cap Hit

Return

Montero

Fredy

F

$367,500.00

Unknown

Parke

Jeff

D

$194,591.25 00

$150,000

Gonzalez

Leonardo

D

$131,250.00

$50,000

In

Last

First

Position

Cap Hit

Cost

Crisanto

Wilmer

D

~$100,000.00

Loan Fee

Opara

Ike

D

~$120,000.00

RED Pick

Hajsafi

Ehsan

D

$150,000.00

Transfer Fee

I also recommend leaving one Senior Roster spot open to gain the $35k in allocation that provides.

Total savings on the cap: $323,341.25

Total Allocation Gained: $235,000 in allocation plus whatever we net from the Montero sale.

This savings should clean up the roster mess we are in and may even facilitate one or two international signings to bolster the ranks, depending on the depth of the hole we are in and the windfall from Fredy's departure.

Example Best XI

Zakuani----------Johnson----------Rosales

--------Evans--------------Tiffert------------

--------------------Alonso--------------------

Hajsafi----------------------------Johansson

-----------Hurtado---------Ianni-------------

-------------------Gspurning------------------



Example 2nd XI

Estrada-----------Ochoa-----------Martinez

---------Caskey---------------Rose------------

-------------------Carrasco--------------------

Burch--------------------------------Crisanto

-----------Opara----------Duran--------------

------------------Hahnemann------------------


Outcome

On paper, these additions and subtractions and may appear to make the team weaker in overall talent. I believe that the tactical change that comes with these personnel changes will lead to a better squad for less money. One key benefit to this change is the change in Mauro's duties to not require him to drift into the midfield or play much defense. This should help keep him healthy and maximize his impact while minimizing his risk.

This change, in my opinion, would mirror Sporting Kansas City's success in the league this year while maximizing our salary expenditures to be more sustainable. Our youth will continue to take larger roles while our veterans will be retained and protected. This may not be the flashy off-season of our dreams, but I think it could win trophies. And I want to show every club in this league, that when we have to rebuild and re-tool, we still challenge for trophies.

FanPosts only represent the opinions of the poster, not of Sounder at Heart.

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