From the Seattle Times we learn that camp has cut way down. There were some extra keepers around, and one of them is still under contract (Eylander), and Jeff Parke doesn't have an contract yet either, but there are 22 Senior Roster slots occupied if you count both of them, with up to 3 guys that could wind up on the Injured List (Eylander, Graham and maybe even Jaqua who just returned to the pitch). Guys eligible for Developmental Slots are down to 4, and 3 of them even have contracts. The only one not officially on the roster is one Mike Fucito.
The battle to make the roster is basically over and done. Now it is about who can regularly make the 18 on game day. That is quite apparent from Sigi's answer to a question about Wallace and Neagle.
"We had to move forward. We had to cut our squad down a little bit. Lamar Neagle has done well for us but we didn’t really see him breaking into the top 20 and most important thing for him right now is to get games. So hopefully he will find a situation where he can get games at a level that he feels he will continue to grow at. I think there is an opportunity for Jamel Wallace to be able to play with Kitsap Pumas. That keeps him close as well. It gives him the opportunity to train with us on a periodic basis and we can monitor his development."
Neagle also was at Pumas camp, and so may end up there as well. Let's look at a Depth Chart that assumes everyone is available and healthy for a match right now.
Forwards: Montero, Ljungberg - Levesque, Fucito
Wide Attackers: Zakuani, Jaqua - Estrada, Nyassi, Montano
Central Mids: Alonso, Evans - Sturgis, Vagenas, King
Fullbacks: Gonzalez, Riley - Wahl, Scott
Centerbacks: Hurtado, Marshall - Ianni, Parke, Graham
Keepers: Keller - Boss, Eylander
I almost expect that two players start the year on the IL (Graham and Eylander), but if neither do, and the Sounders are forced to a player in order to keep Parke, I wouldn't lean towards expecting Scott. He's too versatile, where as Graham is only a CB, and the ability to adapt to multiple roles is important. The only "pure" outfield players on the roster are Marshall and Graham. Everyone else can move around in the shape and still be at least decent.
Today in practice the Sounders used Ianni and Scott at Right Back in the search to replace Riley for First Kick. Levesque was at Right Wing with the first team, and Fucito played up top on the 2nd squad.
Last year I categorized players as Starters, Rotationals, Substitutes and Reserves. This year the competition seems tighter. I can see only one pure Reserve in Montano, and that may only be early in the season. Every other player will be in the 18 many times this year. Maybe I will just have to narrow it to three categories by the end of the year, or maybe things change late in the season.
What do you think of this roster for the first half of the season? Which two players would you cut, IL or trade in order to get to 24? Oh, and it can't be a kid in italics.