Who: Seattle Sounders FC
Where: Kino Sports Complex, Tucson, AZ
When: 29 January through 8 February
Why should you care: Preseason training gives a glimpse at what we could possibly expect to see when the Sounders face Sporting KC on 8 March. Certainly, the absence of Clint Dempsey will be disappointing for those of traveling to Tucson, or for those fortunate enough to live in the beautiful southern Arizona city. Even without Deuce, the new arrivals to the squad and their ability to work within Sigi’s system should be something to focus on.
Here are my top things to look out for during the training stint in Tucson:
2. Is Stephan Frei an upgrade to Michael Gspurning?
3. Can Chad Marshall solidify the backline and positively influence the play of John Kennedy Hurtado?
4. Does Lamar Neagle continue to be played out of position on the left, or does he see more consistent time at forward?
5. What does the Sounder’s forward depth actually look like? With Barrett, Bowen, Neagle, Cooper, Martins, Okoli all on the roster, will Bowen or Barret push out left or right and take up more attacking midfield roles? Will Neagle?
7. How do the MLS Superdraft picks stack up?
8. Without Mauro Rosales, where does the midfield creativity come from when Clint Dempsey is not around? Caskey? Evans? Kovar? Potential signing?
9. Does Ozzie Alonso look to become more involved offensively and round out his entire skillset as he takes on his new Designated Player role?
10. Will we see some mystery trialists?
After the absolute train wreck that was last season, a fresh start in Tucson gives hope to all fans, as they look forward to the 2014 campaign. It’s all about potential, that special feeling that anything can happen. Do the Sounders have the right ingredients to compete for the MLS Cup? Will the Lamar Hunt trophy return to Seattle following a two year hiatus? How will Sigi respond as manager following an offseason where his future at the club was in doubt, and does he have a recipe for future success? These are all questions that will be answered through the course of the season, but for now, Tucson will give fans a taste of what they’ve waited four longs months for; Sounder’s soccer.
New Arrivals of Interest: Kenny Cooper (F), Stephan Frei (GK), Tristan Bowen (F/MF), Sean Okoli (F), Aaron Kovar (MF), Chad Marshall (CB)