We’re five seasons into the MLS era, which has certainly contained some highs and some lows. It’s easy to focus on the negative things at this time of year, when we’re watching others celebrate playoff wins and saying goodbye to beloved players. But let’s try to keep the high points we’ve achieved in mind as well, such as the USOC championships, the CCL runs, and the identification, signing and development of young players. If you want to blame the current coaching staff and front office for the undeniable failures, they also deserve credit for the remarkable successes.
But now is a time for change, as the club strives to meet the expectations that have been established by the supporters and the club’s ownership. While we’re seeing a lot of turnover in the roster and I believe that it’s for the better. The core of the team over the past few years has never included a clearly defined playmaker that will carry the team on his back. There have been stars of other varieties, such as goal scorer Fredy Montero and shot stopper Kasey Keller. Now, for the first time, I believe we have a piece that we can build the team around and that is what we are seeing the club do this offseason.
We have the centerpiece we’ve lacked thus far in our history in Clint Dempsey and this offseason is the time to build a team around our new superstar. The center of the park is further solidified with Ozzie Alonso and Brad Evans, the 3 of which compose the spine that Hanauer described immediately following the end of the season. A defense that was among the league’s best until the end of season collapse has been improved by the trade for Chad Marshall. As the club builds around this core, we’re in the hands of a solid and proven general manager.
At the conclusion of the 2012 season, the Sounders Alliance voted overwhelmingly to retain Adrian Hanauer as the club’s General Manager. Was this result based on measuring the club’s on the field success over the first 4 seasons, which featured impressive 3 USOC wins, deep CCL runs and 4 straight playoff qualifications as well as an unimpressive playoff record with only 1 series win? If so, nothing has really changed at this point in 2013 and our confidence in Adrian’s ability to build a team should not be impacted by another season of making the playoffs. Or was the vote based on the success the club has had in signing many game-changing players over the past few years? If so, this year may have been the most successful so far with the signing of Clint Dempsey, a successful extension of Ozzie Alonso, a (presumably) profitable loan of Fredy Montero, and value shopping with club’s first Home Grown Product with DeAndre Yedlin.
Either way, I have complete trust in the ability of our GM to continue to lead us to the promise land. So far this offseason we’ve created cap space with the moves of Mauro Rosales, Steve Zakuani, Eddie Johnson, Adam Moffat and Michael Gspurning. With a yacht-load of allocation money now at his disposal Adrian is fully equipped with the tools of his trade. I’m confident that he’ll do what he needs to do to make us a better team in 2014 than we were in 2013 and you should be too!