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Sounders apparently sign Pat Noonan

Don Ruiz is reporting that Pat Noonan, who has been in camp with the Sounders the last couple days, has signed.

Update: * Noonan said he signed. The Sounders say they have no signings to announce. So. Meanwhile, coach Sigi Schmid did agree that it's pretty much time for a decision one way or another on Parke, who was scheduled to meet with Sounders officials this afternoon. More to come.

According to the quotes released to the media, this is what Schmid had to say about Noonan:

"Noonan obviously is here on trial so we are looking at him and we will make some decisions there in the next day or so. [. . .] Obviously I have a history with Pat having coached him at Columbus so I know what he is capable of. I know what he can do as a player. He is a player who has played in our league. Playing on turf not unusual for him from all the years he played at New England as well. He is a player who it is not going to take him long to adjust."

Whether Noonan's signing is official or not, it certainly appears as if he's going to be joining the team in the near future.

And who, exactly, is this Pat Noonan character?

In a nutshell, he is a one-time solid MLS scorer, who earned 12 caps with the national team, but whose career has been derailed by a series of injuries.

Here's what the MLS website has to say about Noonan:

Pat Noonan is a dynamic player who can run at defenders and create off the dribble. He can attack from either wing, using both feet to good effect and has a knack for good link-up play and makes other players around him better with his unselfish play. Noonan is known for his ability to hold the ball exceptionally well and has good tactical awareness and is always a scoring threat when he's on the field.

Pnoonan_mediumJust reading that, you'd be forgiven for wondering why the Colorado Rapids released him about a week ago. The answer appears to be that he was a casualty of the new collective bargaining agreement, which would have forced the Rapids to guarantee his contract.

Beyond that, though, it's clear that the 29-year-old Noonan has not yet returned to the form that prompted MLS to write such a glowing report. Noonan is now almost three years removed from when he was last a solid MLS scorer, and nearly five years removed from being one of the elite players in the league.

After a 2007 season with the New England Revolution in which he scored seven goals and had four assists in 27 games (good for a .93 PP90) despite missing some time with injuries, he signed with Norwegian club Aalesunds FK. He played in only 11 games there before heading back to MLS and catching on with the Columbus Crew where he played in 11 games and helped the Crew win both the Supporters' Shield and MLS Cup in 2008.

He was then traded to Colorado where he played just 843 minutes in 17 games last year.

In signing Noonan, the Sounders are obviously hoping that he can rediscover some of the form that allowed him to score 29 goals and register 22 assists in 78 games from 2003-05 (that's a PP90 of 1.19).

Of course, that was also when injuries started to take their toll. In 2006, Noonan fought several injuries (back, hip flexor, hamstring, sports hernia) and played just 850 minutes in 14 games, scoring just one goal.

It's not immediately clear whether Noonan is capable of playing heavy minutes at this point. The most obvious sign of deficiency for the Sounders in their Week 1 victory was the play of fan favorite Roger Levesque, who failed to get solid shots off two very good scoring opportunities and was whistled offsides twice.

More likely than immediately replacing Levesque -- who played the entire game against Philadelphia -- or anyone else, Noonan would probably be brought in as a substitute in case some scoring was needed.

Noonan would also be a solid candidate for U.S. Open Cup matches, where he has a fair amount of past success. He scored two goals and had three assists in the 2006 semifinals and finals, earning most valuable player status for his one-goal, two-assist performance in the Cup final victory against Dallas.

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