Travis Bowen at Starfire training - Jane G Photography
Sounder at Heart has writers who are regularly at Starfire practices. In this post, Dave and Liviu scout the remaining trialists and guess at their chances of making the squad. Some are MLS quality but unlikely to make the Seattle roster. Others, though, fit positions of need.
With four open roster spots and 10 non-roster players in camp, the competition is tight. Here is what Sounder at Heart has seen from them so far and the possibility of them making the 2013 Seattle Sounders FC roster. Besides solidifying a First XI and a regular 18, the five games down in Tucson will help whittle down the trialists to approach a final roster.
The variety in these shells of scouting reports show the difficulty in scouting so broadly, but it should give you an idea of which two or three non-roster players to focus on during the upcomig matches.
Travis Bowen — F
Dave: A larger forward that is better with the ball at his feet than head. Bowen is not particularly fast, but could be useful in hold-up play. Strong finisher at lower levels, has yet to replicate in training. Next five games are vital to his chances.
MLS Rating This Year: Reserve Chance on Sounders Squad: Remote
Liviu: It's surprising he's still in camp. He's erratic and lunges into bad tackles often. No real presence up top - doesn't make great runs, doesn't hold the ball too well.
MLS rating: Reserve League bench player. Sounders rating: Why is he still around?
Anshani Fairclough — RM/LM
Dave: Have not seen enough of Fairclaough yet.
Liviu: As with Lund, Fairclough is at a disadvantage because of the players against whom he is competing. He rates a little lower than Lund, though, because he doesn't have quite as much of an impact on a game when he is on the ball.
MLS rating: Reserve League player. Sounders rating: Should be in the next group of cuts.
Doug Herrick — GK
Dave: Solid stopper and worker. Showed the necessary requisite skills to be in the league. Needs to develop reading of game.
MLS Rating: Reserve Chance on Sounders Squad: Nil, barring injury
Liviu: It's unclear whether Herrick was ever really on trial, with three goalkeepers already signed. He may be around just to provide numbers during training, but he is more than capable at the MLS level. He has good hands, great distribution and a solid goalkeeping base from past experiences.
MLS rating: Reserve League starter, to get more experience at the level. Sounders rating: No need for a fourth goalkeeper, but keep him around to train (and possibly play with the under-23s again) in case of injury.
Philip Lund — RM/LM
Dave: Looks strong with ball at his feet. Quick to pass. May struggle adapting to physical nature of league. Lacks the defensive prowess to offer a tactical switch from most of Seattle's wingers.
MLS Rating: Rotational Chance on Sounders Squad: Nil, due to number of wingers on team
Liviu: A speedy wide player who can also play central midfield. His biggest hurdle is the depth the Sounders have on both wings already. That, and he's played at a decent level, so his cap hit would be pretty high for somebody who wouldn't play much outside the Open Cup.
MLS rating: Rotational player. Sounders rating: Too expensive for a depth signing.
Dylan Remick — LB/LM
Dave: Hard working, willing to listen to coaches and adapts to circumstances well. Quite fast with excellent endurance. Reads game fairly well. Needs to be better at on-ball defense and one-touch passing.
MLS Rating: Reserve Chance on Sounders Squad: Good
Liviu: A solid outside back with future potential. He has good vision and shows flashes of high-level play. He wouldn't cost much - likely the league minimum salary - and would provide depth in case of injury while gaining experience.
MLS rating: Needs Reserve League experience. Sounders rating: Good depth signing.
Jennings Rex — F
Dave: Have not seen enough as forward. Should be commended for attempting to play as a central midfielder. Strong tackler for such an attacking player. Not fast. Can't wait to see him play more in these five preseason games.
MLS Rating: Reserve Chance on Sounders Squad: Fair
Liviu: Only joined the team recently. He hasn't seen much action, so it's hard to form an opinion.
MLS rating: Unknown. Sounders rating: Reserve League might be best, if he's going to stay around.
Mikael Silvestre — LB/CB
Dave: Looked comfortable on the ball, but a bit too patient if pressured. Strong at reading passing lanes. Willing to use his body. May have trouble converting to a more central role to make up for lack of speed.
MLS Rating: Starter Chance on Sounders Squad: Totally depends on contract demands
Liviu: His form is a big question mark, but he looked OK in the friendly last week. Another big question with him is whether he can transition to playing center back, as Seattle is pretty set at outside back.
MLS rating: Probable starter at left back, questionable at center back. Sounders rating: Give him a run at center back, and if he can cope, sign either him or Traore.
Djimi Traore — CB/LB
Dave: Willing to use his body. Reads play well and gets in for interceptions. Lacks the mobility to play left back as Sigi wants. Will have trouble with the faster forwards (Mattocks types).
MLS Rating: Fringe Starter Chance on Sounders Squad: Excellent
Liviu: Big, strong center back who has the high-level experience to make a difference. Probably one of two or three players in this remaining group that has a chance of signing.
MLS rating: Starting center back, once he shakes off the rust. Sounders rating: Sign him up.
Lebotang Moloto — CM/LM/RM (no longer in camp due to schooling)
Dave: Decent with ball at his feet, but too often looks to beat with the dribble rather than pass. Counts on positioning rather than tackling on defense.
MLS Rating: Fringe Rotational Sounders Rating: Likely signed when done with school.
Liviu: The best player of the unsigned still in camp, Moloto showed keen vision and a deft touch in his short time with the Sounders before heading back to finish school. Letting him go, as it initially appeared Seattle had, would have been a huge personnel mistake.
MLS rating: Rotational playmaking midfielder with tremendous potential for the future. Sounders rating: Reserve League to start, possibly working into a backup attacking midfielder slot.