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Marc Burch Selected By Sounders | Jaqua, Noonan Move On

Marc Burch is now likely to wear Rave Green as a depth defensive player after being selected by the Seattle Sounders today.
Marc Burch is now likely to wear Rave Green as a depth defensive player after being selected by the Seattle Sounders today.

Seattle Sounders FC clearly wanted one player in today's Re-Entry Draft Stage Two when they made a last minute trade with the Vancouver Whitecaps for the number one pick, giving up their natural 3rd round pick (1st supplemental) in 2014 MLS Draft. Moments later they selected MLS veteran and former D.C. United player Marc Burch. Burch's 2011 salary is reported to be 97.5k, but is subject to renegotiation per the RED rules. At only 27 he's had a few injury issues missing nearly all of the 2010 season, as well as much of 2011. Sigi Schmid previously acquired Burch in the 2nd half of his rookie year acquiring him from the LA Galaxy to join the 2006 Columbus Crew.

After joining United in 2007 Burch gained experience in the following international tournaments; 2008 CONCACAF Champions Cup, 2008 SuperLiga, 2008/09CONCACAF Champions League and the 2009/10 CCL. In the past couple years Burch has played the left back in a traditional four man line, but also has experience as the left centerback in a three man line.

One of Seattle's significant needs is now filled with Burch. Rather than have youngsters Michael Tetteh or rumored Ever Alvarado with significant time, they can now develop, assuming that Burch and the Sounders can agree to terms.

The Sounders also continue to get younger. The only two available Sounders were each picked. Nate Jaqua's MLS rights are now held by the New England Revolution. Pat Noonan is one of 6 players selected by the Galaxy. Both Jaqua and Noonan finished the season with lower contracts than they started. LA added vets and have some questions in their youth - Leonardo and Juninho have contract/loan issues while Sean Franklin ended his deal. In New England Jaqua should readily compete for time on a team without much depth.

ChestRockwell from Black & Red United gives a scouting report;

Burch is a left back/left midfielder who played center back under Tom Soehn due to equal parts injury crisis and ill-advised experiment. The primary problem for Burch as a defender has always been that he still appears to be a conversion project many years later. Defensive positioning doesn't come easily to him; throw in a lack of speed, and he is a player that opposing teams have been picking on for years with United. He also struggles with defending cleanly. He has to commit fouls too often, and tends to put a lot of anger into his slide tackles (making him a card risk).

He is not all bad, though. He is a real competitor, and both Soehn and Olsen have praised him as a locker room presence and as a teammate. Calling him a hard man would be fair; Burch definitely plays with an edge that has bothered opposing players in the past. His appearances at center back actually weren't as bad as his reputation would suggest. There were times where he appeared adequate, though it should be noted that this just meant not being awful for a team that bled goals.

You will here plenty about his supposedly cultured left foot, but that's more of a myth than a reality. Burch does possess tremendous power on free kicks, but generally needs either a) to be dead center and about 30 yards out or b) to shoot low and hope that the wall jumps. In other words, for every one great free kick he produces, there are 6 or 7 wasted ones. As for his crossing ability, Burch doesn't often get into position to hook the ball in due to his lack of speed. Further, he is extraordinarily one-footed, so he often needs an eternity to set up his crosses, which are then easily defended. He also finds himself forced onto his right foot often, which means the best outcome to hope for is a back pass.

With a stronger supporting cast, his weaknesses will be covered for more often than they were here, where having 2 good center backs has been a rarity since 2008. He will somewhat resemble Leo Gonzalez for Seattle, except Gonzalez has better anticipation and more defensive knowledge in general. From where I sit, this was an ill-advised selection for the Sounders, even if trading up to get Burch ends up carrying little cost.

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