David Estrada appears to have done enough to win himself a spot on the Seattle Sounders' roster. (Photo by Chris Coulter/SoundersPhotos.com)
The Seattle Sounders' preseason roster got just a little bit lighter as they got ready to take off for Florida and Mexico. Although the Sounders didn't officially release an updated roster, Joshua Mayers of the Seattle Times has managed to piece one together:
Midfielders (13): Osvaldo Alonso, Servando Carrasco, Alex Caskey*, Cordell Cato, Brad Evans, Alvaro Fernandez, Lamar Neagle, Mauro Rosales, Andy Rose^, Amadou Sanyang, Mike Seamon, Christian Sivebaek, Steve Zakuani
* -- trialist/invitee, # -- unsigned draft pick, ^ -- acquired on draft day trade, underline -- recovering from injury with uncertain timeline
Still not a whole lot of surprises at this point. The guys that won't be making the trip are Ever Alvarado, Jason Banton, Wes Feighner, Tim Pontius and Andrew Vanzie. While Sounders coach Sigi Schmid said there's always a chance that some new faces could join the team still, he didn't exactly make it sound like that was very likely. I'd say it's probably a safe bet to assume the First Kick roster will be assembled from this group.
There are 35 guys still listed. I would be willing to bet the Sounders hit March 1's roster-compliance day with 28 healthy and two more on injured reserve/disabled list. Based on what I've seen, there's probably nine guys fighting for five spots.
After the jump, I'll look at the battles as I see them, by position:
Goalkeeper: I think Bryan Meredith has probably locked down a spot. Although Schmid said Weber doesn't necessarily have to win the backup to earn a spot, logic says otherwise. Unlike Ford or Blais, Weber's contract would be guaranteed if he makes the roster. It really doesn't make sense for the Sounders to take that kind of risk if they really feel Meredith is the clear No. 2.
Defender: Coaches seem to have had good things to say about Duran, leading me to believe his spot is pretty safe. That leaves Gutierres and Tetteh as the only defenders whose spots are not assured. It's hard for me to see Gutierres making the roster out of the gate, but he could stick around. The good news for Tetteh is that he's now fully practicing. Despite that Generation Adidas contract, I don't think the Sounders are interested in keeping him around just for looks. He needs to win a spot.
Midfielder: Cato has real speed, something this team still is a bit lacking in. I think he's made it. Seamon seems to have heard all the critiques and is now on the coaches' good side. He's safe too, I think. That leaves Caskey, Rose and Sanyang battling. That looks pretty wide open, but wouldn't be at all shocked to see Rose get the nod. He looks a little more versatile than the other two.
Forward: Sodade and White are really the only question marks here. I'd like to think the Sounders can figure out a way to keep White around, maybe at a salary closer to the league minimum. But I really don't think they are going to risk having a $100,000 player sitting on their injured list all year unless they really believe he can be fit at some point. Sodade is still a bit wild-card for me. He has size that no other forward can match, but that won't be enough to make this roster by itself.
How do you see it playing out?