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After Sounders defeat Stabaek IF what do we know?

We don't know much, but we know that Sounders can now finish with a winning record in the tourney. Maybe even a top 5 finish against Norwegian and Danish sides. That's basically it. Everything else is guessing.

I've postulated that there is competition for who will be the starting Right Wing/Mid, at the very least who will provide depth at the wide midfielder positions (Jaqua, Levesque, Estrada, King, Fucito). There is of course the backup role at Left Back (Wahl, Scott) and depth at Right Back (Neagle, Ianni, Sturgis). Center Mid seems to have an opening as well with Vagenas, Sturgis, and King all playing there in these first three matches - one of those will start Match Day One.

Let's look at the attacking players competing for depth and roster slots first

Attacking Players

Pts per 90

% Playing Time

Levesque

1.00

66.7%

Estrada

0.00

55.6%

King

0.00

38.9%

Nyassi

4.00

33.3%

Predido

0.00

27.8%

Gardner

2.00

16.7%

Now, some of the playing time may be more dependent on fitness influencing availability, but those that perform with the time they are given have to be the ones that make the staff think that they should be moved up a bit. Roger Levesque fans should note that while he's certainly been fit he's also produced in that time. I wouldn't hesitate in thinking that he's taken the spot that Le Toux had last year as the first offensive non-starter. But we are also only 3 matches of 8 into the off-season. Fucito and Nyassi's injuries do lend blurriness at the 6 and 7 spots in the competition.

On defense things get trickier due to injury levels and Parke's late arrival.

Defensive Players

Pts Per 90

% Playing Time

Wahl

0.00

55.6%

Sturgis

0.67

50.0%

Neagle

1.50

44.4%

Scott

0.00

38.9%

Wallace

0.00

38.9%

Ianni

0.00

33.3%

Parke

0.00

16.7%

Last year there was no depth at the Right Back, Centerback was only Ianni and at Left Back we essentially saw three phases of starter. This year it is clear that Leo is the LB, as well as who the starters are, but the competition at depth is fairly intense, and injuries may determine who makes the roster. Graham is out, Scott missed some time, and Parke showed up late. Guessing now it looks like Neagle is getting a long look, and his flexibility in role should help his shot. Wahl seems to have moved ahead of Scott, but this may be due to fitness as Scott spent an off-season recovering from injury, while Wahl knew he would be fighting for a paycheck.

In the Center Mid Sigi is searching for who can start when Evans fills in at Right Back.

Center Players

Pts Per 90

% Playing Time

Sturgis

0.67

50.0%

Vagenas

0.00

50.0%

King

0.00

38.9%

Injuries aren't the influence here. There are really just 3 guys competing to be the primary Rotational behind Alonso and Evans. With relatively even time between the three so far we are looking at nuanced levels of play. I don't think we have a clue as to who the primary is at this point. Notable is that Sturgis can step into defense while King has a history of being more of an attacking player, while Vagenas is locked into being a central player. This may influence later decisions.

Sounders are now 2-1-0 with a +0 GD in 3 matches of the preseason. Providing that decent production has been a mix of clear starters and guys that are truly battling to just get one more chance every single day. This last table will also exist on the left sidebar. Alonso was credited with a secondary assist today. If you watch the highlights it is clearly deserved.

Player PP90 G A
Nyassi 4.00 2 0
Montero 1.71 1 0
Ljungberg 1.71 0 2
Neagle 1.50 1 0
Levesque 1.00 1 0
Gardner 1.00 0 1
Sturgis 0.67 0 1
Alonso 0.60 0 1


Its early. There are very few indicators. Fitness and injuries are influences, but we now have more than tea leaves.

 

UPDATE: Just got some quotes from the team, the most notable ones concerned off ball movement and up-tempo play.

Ljungberg - It’s something we should work on every week and every day. I think it’s one of those things we can just get better. I think it worked a couple of times today but we can still get a lot better at it, but it worked much today than it did a couple weeks ago.

Levesque - I think in the first half and the second half, guys were looking for that third man running. A Ball gets played in, you’re not a necessarily going to get to that first pass, but maybe the second. It’s something we’re trying to concentrate on. I think we improved on it and there’s a ways to go but It was step in the right direction.

Sigi - That was something we talked about. We didn’t think our movement off the ball was very good in the first game. We didn’t think our endeavor was always very good either. We wanted to address those two things and I thought it was much better. We scored a good first goal, with Montero making a good near post run of that combination. We had Ljungberg in on a another good run, with Ozzie laying the ball in. We scored on a corner kick which involves off the ball running as well, even though it’s a corner kick. Overall I thought we created five or six really good looks in the first half, really good chances and our movement was much better. The movement of Ljungberg and Montero and Estrada at times. I thought Roger Levesque played very well also.

Levesque is the first player to go 90 in pre-season.

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