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Right Back Depth Filled By Utility Men

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Zach Scott is one of many players who will see time at right back during preseason training.
Zach Scott is one of many players who will see time at right back during preseason training.

One of the issues with depth charts and roster math is how to place players who can fill many roles. With Adam Johansson in Qatar for the opening of training camp, Seattle Sounders coach Sigi Schmid gets to test a bunch of different options at the right back role. One thing quickly clear when asked was who the leader in that role is:

Obviously Zach Scott is somebody who can play there. So we know he can always push out there and play, so it gives us a chance to look at some other guys at center back—[Andrew] Duran and [Tim] Pontius. We’ll probably look at Duran at outside, as well, because he’s shown that he can play right back. We’re looking at Roger Levesque back there still because he’s done an adequate job and he’s always been the guy that’s sort of been that answer to any question. Do we need a forward? Do we need a midfielder? What do we need? Roger’s always willing to jump and do the job …and he looks very comfortable at right back right now, more comfortable than he was last year when he first started doing it.

There's other depth that's being tested there as well. Both David Estrada and Amadou Sanyang filled in at times. Each provide a different style of utility player. In Estrada you get a kind of young Levesque--high energy, converted attacking player, on ball skills. In Sanyang's brief moments of play he's been a defensive stopper. His experiences as a defensive mid and center back make him more like a Scott.

Estrada at practice today gave a very Levesque answer when asked about his role flexibility, which last year included time as a CAM with the Reserves:

I try to get as much as I can from each position. If I'm going to play that's what I'm going to do; to be able to be consistent and add to the team.

Sanyang is in his first training camp with the Sounders--a camp where he's able to train fully in preseason, unlike last year. He too notes that his ability to play multiple roles will help him get playing time.

I feel like it's one of those things to get more opportunity. If you don't play you where you already have played ... you need to step up and do it. You have more opportunities to be on the field.

Both can see other players who aren't locks at a position getting time. Scott can slot into the right, the left and the middle. With so many competitions, and a desire to have partnerships at centerback, his flexibility could force some of the "utility guys" fill in at right back in non-league games or this year in League games in weeks with CONCACAF Champions League knockout rounds.

Being ready, available and adaptable is a hallmark of Levesque's play even back to the USL days. His work ethic was praised today by Sigi. There's little wonder that when asked about looking up to Roger this was David Estrada's response:

That's one of the guys that I look up to, being at his age and being as fit as he is, it's amazing to me. He's able to play at right mid, rightback and up top and score goals too. That's one of the guys that I look up to. You see the way he prepares.