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An Ode To The Multi-Tool

Once upon a time I was a soldier. Due to my duties I had to carry dozens of pounds of specialty electronics, as well as weapons and food, some clothing, water (lots of water sometimes). You quickly run out of space and strength for all of these things.

Otto Greule Jr

You can't carry everything you need to do the mission while also staying alive, not if you count on a tool specifically designed for each thing you might do. There are also things that aren't mission critical, but are clearly needs, as they help you eat, drink water, build shelter - you know? Survive.

You often need a knife when trying to survive for a few weeks out in the wilderness. You also could use some wire cutters to help build an antenna. A can opener could be handy to open some foodstuffs. An awl, maybe a fishscaler, a file, a saw can all come in handy. There were times during social camping that a corkscrew and bottle opener were in demand as well.

Imagine carrying all of those items when your combat load is already 130 pounds on your 140 pound body (I miss my 140 pound body). Do you really want 10 pounds of small tools to add on? Of course not. You wanted a single tool that was OK for lots of things.

I found the best multi-tool to be from SOG. There were other brands available, but this one was from the Seattle area, so it helped connect me to home when I was in Tennessee, or Texas, or North Carolina, or Kuwait. Would I really want to use one from Tigard or Portland, Oregon?

It was good, it was strong. And in some cases actually better than all but the specialty tools. I lost that SOG when I out-processed from the Army. There have been other multi-tools and pocket knives in my life, but none meant what that SOG did to me. It was a great tool. It was the best way for me to maximize my limiting budget (in this case weight) and help me succeed at staying alive and my various missions while in the Army.

What's this have to do with soccer or the Sounders?

They have budget limitations as well. In no particular order they are constrained by MLS Roster limits, by the salary cap, by the gameday 18 and the starting XI. Enough injuries, international callups and fitness concerns come about and those factors can mess with the ideal.

That's when they need a multi-tool. Or in the case of Wednesday night, two multi-tools.

Positions and roles in soccer are not static. Movement is necessary. So is tactical knowledge and awareness. Any outfield player could play anywhere on the field and be in that space. But what Brad Evans and Mike Seamon did was more than adequate. It was great.

They did it under significant pressure. In fact, despite playing the full match at right centerback, Jeff Parke only had 43 trackable actions. He was a defensive stalwart in the rare times he was challenged. Real Salt Lake did not do that often. Instead they tried to pressure through Evans or Seamon.

Evans had 16 Blocks, Recoveries, Interceptions or Clearances. Seamon had eight. Parke earned 18.

B-Rad's role flexibility is praised so often it has become cliche. That does not make it less true. Since September 2nd he started as a center mid, a right mid, a left mid and a right back. That was in just eight games, seven starts. He also had significant time at centerback. He has been good or better in all of those games.

Seamon's tale is a little less known. When drafted he was mainly a college forward, but sometimes an attacking midfielder. With the Sounders he's been used in the defensive mid, the box-to-box mid and right mid up until this season. This year his Reserves time was split between right mid and right back, after a preseason when he expected to be Evans' backup. In some ways maybe he still is Evans' backup.

Sigi Schmid has a budget. He's found a way to maximize it. He found some multi-tools. One at the starting level and one at the reserve level. Both are necessary to the Sounders' success in various competitions. Could they be better as specialists? Perhaps, but right now Seattle needs a multi-tool.

I bet Sigi loves his as well as I loved my SOG.

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