The Seattle Sounders staff emails media (which includes a large swath of "new media" as well) a recap of the day's events while they are out of town. Today the following quote showed up;
(On Jonathan Prieto and other individual performances…) "Definitely you pay attention. There were some guys that stepped up. Prieto had a good game. I thought [David] Estrada was very effective when he played here. Some other guys were a little less effective but over the course of time it all evens out. You don’t get too high on one performance. You don’t get too low on one performance either. It was competitive, which is something that we are looking for, and some guys are showing they are adjusting. A guy like Prieto or [Corey] Attaway or [Leone] Cruz or [Servando] Carrasco all those new guys it’s how quickly are they starting to adapt to the speed of play. Today was a good day for Jonathan."
Juan Cruz and Sevarndo Carrasco we know a little from the Super Draft. Corey Attaway we know from the Supplemental Draft (one of only two Supplementals left) and because he had those great sprint times.
Jonathon Prieto though...he had a good day, but who is he?
For that I talked to a Southern California youth coach. Sure, that's not the best way to get information, as there may be bias either towards or away from the player, but at the same point data is good. If you didn't think data was good, would you be here?
Here's some basic facts first.
Prieto has drawn pro level interest over the past two years. The interest is not limited to MLS as there were at least two Mexican clubs who wanted at least a look if not more. He and Carrrasco both went to the Sounders Vegas Combine. Jon is left footed, which seems to be of particular interest this year for the Sounders.
Now for the more nuanced stuff. He's a natural #10, a CAM. Sigi doesn't really use a CAM, even GBS wasn't a CAM, but more a WF sitting underneath. Those definitions of course don't totally matter, but at the same point a young (19 years old) player is either way more slotted, or they are way to undefined. That entirely depends on coaching. In this case Prieto is a guy with both on-ball and off-ball skills. One of those who "feels" the game. But he's also smaller, and not necessarily fast. In MLS this can be a problem. Our league is one that values the physical quite a bit. This sounds like a project, as seasoning matters.
A young American player without hype and pedigree is making the cut while several supposedly more skillful players are not.
Prieto had a good day, but let's be honest. He had a good first week to make it this far. A good couple of days gets him another round of pre-season.
Honestly, at this point this is exactly the player that the Reserve League is made to host. Someone who deserves a shot at being a pro in his own nation's league, but may need more time to develop.
This is the kind of player that has to battle and show something special every day. Next step is to come back to Seattle/Tukwila/Renton. After that can he make the trip to Florida? Can he return to Washington? Then in March does he not just have a good day, but a great one?
Keep an eye out, sometimes the hype needs to be ignored and one should just see who makes the cut.