Casey Sapio-USA TODAY Sports
The final preseason games are in the books, now we try to figure out who made a last-gasp case for playing time and who will make the final Sounders cut.
Based on our own math, it would appear that there are, at most, two spots still remaining up for grabs on the Seattle Sounders roster. Realistically, there might be even less. Josh Mayers was kind enough to put together this list of players that are seemingly in competition:
Will Bates (supplemental draft pick), Travis Bowen (trialist), Kevin Durr (supplemental draft pick, still has commitments with Air Force Academy), Ashani Fairclough (undrafted rookie), Doug Herrick (MLS rights controlled by Portland), Philip Lund (trialist), Stephen Okai (MLS rights controlled by Philadelphia), Jennings Rex (supplemental draft pick)
There obviously isn't much time left to impress, but here's who I thought helped or hurt themselves in the final two preseason games:
Ashani Fairclough: Sure, he had some regrettable challenges and tackles, but he acquitted himself well while playing alongside fellow rookie Eriq Zavaleta. Fairclough showed good positional awareness and made it clear that he is a physical presence to be reckoned with. He's also just 20 years old and 6-foot-3, which makes it all the more surprising that he went undrafted. His status as a free agent may also help his chances in making the team, as the Sounders would presumably lose control of his MLS rights if he doesn't sign. What's it mean: He went from extreme longshot to arguably the favorite to earn the final roster spot.
Philip Lund: This was not necessarily his best performance of the preseason, but he again showed off some skills that could be useful to the Sounders. That he played forward is probably a good sign as well, since the Sounders seem to be a bit more shallow at that position than his more natural left midfield spot. What's it mean: Best as I can tell, he's battling Fairclough for the final roster spot.
Dylan Remick: That the Sounders managed to beat RSL with three rookies on their backline has to be encouraging. It was doubly encouraging that Remick was playing right back, as opposed to his more natural left back position. In each of the past two games, he's shown an ability to defend as well as bet forward. It's no surprise the Sounders made his signing official this week. What's it mean: Fully expect to see him get some playing time, at least in U.S. Open Cup play.
DeAndre Yedlin: I'll admit that I was pretty skeptical that he stood much chance of earning significant playing time as a rookie. But after his performances in preseason, I'm now expecting to see him quite a bit. His ability to defend was always the biggest question and he seems to have answered that. What's it mean: Still don't think he'll be a starter right away, but he may have established himself as the No. 2 right back.
Alex Caskey: Already had his spot secured, but looked very good as a right mid. His goal was extremely well taken and he looked very confident as the Sounders' main playmaker. What's it mean: Has the misfortune of playing a position at which the Sounders are stacked, but will surely find his way onto the field if he continues to show he's deserving.
Travis Bowen: There's clearly something many of us are missing. Maybe he's great in training. Maybe he does stuff that isn't always apparent. But Bowen really hasn't looked especially good in any of his performances, and had a couple sloppy offsides on Saturday. What's it mean: Kinda surprised he made it this long, but probably someone the Sounders will keep an eye on even if he doesn't make the cut.
Sammy Ochoa: His roster spot is secure, but he was one of the few disappointing performers on Saturday. His assist on the goal was his best moment, and it showed what kind of play he's capable of, but he gave the ball away too easily on many occasions and should have done better with a couple shots.
Adam Johansson: Didn't play in either game, but it doesn't bode well for his future that two guys who don't count against the salary cap looked as good they did. I still expect Johansson to open the season as the starter, but he needs to get fit.
Assuming the Sounders have just one roster spot open, who would you like to see get it?
Travis Bowen (6 votes)
Ashani Fairclough (305 votes)
Philip Lund (66 votes)
Doug Herrrick (2 votes)
Stephen Okai (2 votes)
Will Bates (4 votes)
Kevin Durr (4 votes)
Jennings Rex (2 votes)
391 total votes