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Preseason Level of Competition

The Sounders preseason actually features some rather tough opponents. While the most of MLS is beating on each other, college teams or the US U-17 squad the Sounders are facing the 7th in League, 2nd in Playoff Vancouver Whitecaps FC (one time still to come). They took on the most storied team in Norwegian history in Rosenborg BK (1st in League, quarterfinals in Cup).

Then they faced Stabaek IF also of Norway (3rd in League, quarters in Cup). Creative scheduling allowed them to get in a short scrimmage against FC Midtjylland if Denmark (4th in League, out in rd of 32 for Cup). Finally they played against SK Brann also of Norway (5th in League, quarters in Cup). Sigi, Adrian and Chris will be making personnel decisions after seeing matches against decent competition.

Other MLS sides will be doing the same thing tomorrow morning based off performances against Florida Gulf Coast College, the United States U-17 split squad. I think this matters a little bit. Maybe its my Army influence but I'm big on "train as you fight" or at an even higher level of intensity. Sure this may be the longest preseason ever, but it seems well spent.

The Sounders have gone 3-0-2 in five matches with a -1   0 Goal Differential (8 For, 8 Against) versus what is solid competition. When the lowest quality side faced will be in your league in just a year they haven't had cakewalks. They've played competition at their basic level and have scored more frequently than last season, and while they have given up more goals they will also not face a team as good as Rosenborg unless they make the Group Stage of the CCL.

Will this help them avoid retaining players that are good against lower levels of competition but just don't have it against MLS quality? I'm not certain, but I'm certain that training matches against higher competition can only help, especially when you win more than you lose.

For those keeping track - they have one more against the Whitecaps (next Sat), then one against the Timbers of Portland (1st in League, semis for playoffs) here at Qwest on March 11th and lastly they go to Colorado for the final preseason match. Arguably their easiest (9th in League, no Open Cup).

 Do these performances change your opinion on need for additional talent? How do they color your opinion of the Sounders talent evaluation?

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