After four matches in which Seattle Sounders FC went 3-1-0 (W-L-D) against two MLS, one PDL and one Chinese team, what is it that we know about the new Rave Green Club and its players?
Fact - This offense is good. Even without the drubbing of the Ventura Fusion Seattle scored 7 in three matches. Fredy Montero and Nate Jaqua have a great tandem up top, and the wing play of Zakuani, Nyassi and Le Toux adds significant fire power.
Fact - The defense is prone to suffer lapses. Sure Sounders FC only gave up 5 goals in four games, but four of those were to the two MLS sides, and they tended to happen on rapid runs down the wing. Nate Sturgis is still getting into playing mode, he hasn't been a regular for over a year, and is making a bit of a position change. Seattle likely needs to add another starting defender.
Fact - Several former USL Sounders won't be on the MLS version of the club, and several will. Let's look at what players are battling for spots based on their playing time in these exhibition games. Over 50 players have spent at least one day with the club during training camp, and there are two others whose rights are held but have not shown up yet - Jeff Parke, Mike Fucito.
Yesterday I provided a snapshot of the playing time that each player has received and we can see a trend in the Starting XI.
Left to Right
Keeper - Keller
Defense - Sturgis, Graham, Wahl, Riley
Midfield - Zakuani (
12), Evans (1), Alonso, Le Toux
Forward - Montero (4), Jaqua (2)
It gets more interesting when we look at the players who have gotten significant playing time but aren't likely in the 11.
Keeper - Chris Eylander had already been used in three matches.
Defense - Evan Brown has 3 appearances at LWB and one on the right side. Ianni has 3 at Centerback. Zach Scott has 2 at LB and one at RB.
Midfield - Sanna Nyassi (
23) has been used as a RightWing twice and once on the Left Wing. Ryan Caugherty has been used as a Center Mid twice and a Right Back once. Stephen King ( 1) has four appearance all as a Center Mid.
Forwards - Roger Levesque (2) seems to be making his case in flexibility and tenacity as he has four appearances as a RM, CM, RW, and TF. Jeff Clark has three appearances all up top. Ryan Pore didn't play last night but had three appearances up top as well.
With Freddie Ljungberg having a spot for certain, and Vini Oliveira having one a Developmental role it looks as if of the 24 on the roster there are 23 that have been used in at least three matches from California. Vagenas likely has a slot if he's at all going to be healthy, and Tyronne Marshall, when he shows up in Seattle. One of Jeff Clark and Ryan Pore will not be on the club, and maybe neither. With Ljunberg, Nyassi, Zakuani, Evans and Le Toux all capable of playing a Forward role there is not as much need for the depth there.
There would seem to be one Developmental Player slot open with Steve Zakuani, Evan Brown and Vini Oliveira having taken three already. I still feel that it is likely that Jared Karkas will take the other when he's healthy and signed for the pittance that DV players get. I also feel that when Mike Fucito is healthy he will be battling Vini for the final place. It just makes sense.
So while there are 30 some in camp right now, and 50 or so that have tried, we have a strong idea of who the 24 roster players are going to be barring a late acquisition of talent.
Romero has his analysis of the players left in camp.
Here's who he has as likely starters - Evans, Graham, Jaqua, Keller, Le Toux, Ljungberg, Montero, Riley, Sturgis, Wahl
Borderline Starters - Alonso, Nyassi, Zakuani, Vagenas
Depth players - Brown, Eylander, Ianni, King, Levesque