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Sounders Fullbacks through Lens of Tools

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Seattle Sounders Fullbacks
Seattle Sounders Fullbacks

The discussion of tools and soccer continues as we shift to the outside on defense. Players here are expected to enter the attack on occasion, but their primary role is to stop wide attacks. In many modern formations they need to get forward quickly and return to shape even faster.

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.

With two kinds of a fullbacks, flat and wing, we can see some differences in the balance between Offense and Defense. Leo Gonzalez and James Riley both are nearly balanced and at league average between these categories. Both starters entered the attack fairly regularly, and their clearly better technical abilities. In fact in ways the wingback version of a fullback is quite a bit like a box-to-box midfielder. Gonzalez has played as a left mid in b2b role, and Riley's origins are as a right mid.

The other two fullbacks play much flatter when we see them. Tyson Wahl had previous experience as a centerback in MLS while Zach Scott has spot time as centerback as well. Their Offense/Defense ratings are not at all balanced, but heavy towards defense. Looking back at the Forwards these two are nearly the opposite in balance.

None of the four players are known for being incredibly fast, nor strong. Even those that can do well in a sprint in game situations can't often take advantage of it as they have to cover the entire flank of the pitch defensively while being the sole provider of width in the attack.