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Sounders Wingers through Lens of Tools

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Sounders Wingers Tools Rated
Sounders Wingers Tools Rated

The discussion of tools and soccer continues as we shift to the outside on offense. Players here are expected to be fast, nimble, capable of deft passes, strong crosses and occasional shots on goal.

Here's the initial post on tools for outfield players, and below the break are the definitions of each tool and discussion about the players.

Technical Ability - This encompasses what is done ON-ball. Things like dribbling, passing, man-on-man defense and shooting skills.

Tactical Judgement - This is about awareness of shape of both sides, off-ball runs, zonal defense, passing into runs.

Offensive Skills - How the player's tools translate when the team HAS the ball.

Defensive Skills - How the player's tools translate when the team LACKS the ball.

Physique - Size, Strength, Speed, Stamina are all in this one tool. How a player uses their strengths and minimize their weaknesses here is also important.

The ratings were derived from the frontpage authors at the time (Dave, Jeremiah, sidereal, malcontentjake) and Graham at WAGNH. They are based on performance in 2010, and are a review, not projection.

Since so many of these players are young, to include the player this site said was the best young player on team, this is another time to clarify that in this case we are look backward based on a players' time on the pitch in all competitions, not projecting their future. In most cases these numbers would go up if we were looking one year or three years ahead.

But right now we are clearly most impressed with two players. One is built around speed and strong on-ball skills. Steve Zakuani has both of those as much as any player in MLS. His one slight drawback in his technical skills is his ability to get his own shot off at effective moments, and his defense. He may even agree with us on defense.

Alvaro Fernandez is someone who many of the writers here see as a great box-to-box midfielder. If you look at our midfielder chart you see a similar spread on those ratings as Alvaro. He is clearly one of the best players on the team at ball-handling, tactical awareness, offense and defense. As one of the most balanced players it would be ideal if he were in a place where he could most often participate in the action. Neither particularly fast, nor strong, he is also not a liability in those areas.

Now in Colorado where his speed and endurance will be featured even more, Sanna Nyassi is a bit of a lightning rod here. He is most certainly fast, but he did lack some tactical awareness when his diving inside at the elbow left the Sounders without right flank width. He also too often tried to dribble through multiple defenders rather than pass or take a longer shot. What Sanna did fairly well, though, was chase the ball on defense and apply pressure, particularly in a role that is one of Seattle's four attacking positions.

The final two on the chart are the ones that most clearly delineate the differences between reflection and projection. David Estrada and Miguel Montano did not play much in 2010, and when they did we all saw mere glimpses of what could be, but they just didn't produce. Montano is someone who we recognized as having that something special that Adrian and Sigi speak to so often. In this case it is his great footwork and passing of the ball. The best examples were the series of exchanges he and Fredy Montero worked in their rare moments together. Estrada on the other hand may be what could be referred to as a replacement level player, though it is notable that like Fucito from '09 to '10 Estrada is moving back forward and now playing as a Forward. His projection is not replacement level. His skill spread seems most similar to Montero, and so this season may be his make/break.

Let's pull one guy out and talk projection.

Miguel Montano 2011/2013

Technical - 8/8
Tactical - 5/6
Offense - 6/7
Defense - 4/5
Physique - 6/6

This is probably his upside projection, but if he can advance as some think, he becomes a faster version of someone similar to Alvaro '10. I list one-year and three-year projections as when we get into that more heavily I want to focus on what someone can do the next full season, and what they could be expected to do in a reasonable planning window within MLS. This also points out that the tenths place exists on the ratings due to them being an average of 5 writers. Very rarely did anyone even throw out a .5.

What are your thoughts on the wingers ratings?