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Seattle's "Other" Forward

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Seattle Sounders FC player Christian Sivebaek dribbles the ball during a training game against the Columbus Crew on February 15, 2012 at IMG Academy in Bradenton, FL (photo courtesy Seattle Sounders FC)
Seattle Sounders FC player Christian Sivebaek dribbles the ball during a training game against the Columbus Crew on February 15, 2012 at IMG Academy in Bradenton, FL (photo courtesy Seattle Sounders FC)

Since the loss of Blaise Nkufo, the Seattle Sounders are unsettled in their choice for the primary forward partner with Fredy Montero. By the end of 2011, the choice was a tactical decision between speed and size in Mike Fucito and Sammy Ochoa respectively. With O'Brian White's status still unknown, the search for Montero's partner is continuing and expanding.

In the Sounders win over the Columbus Crew, the following players played at forward - Montero, Fucito, David Estrada, Christian Sivebaek and Babayele Sodade. Ochoa is still mentioned in the mix as well. Each offers different combinations of size, speed, strength, endurance and soccer skills. Asked about what he's looking for in the "other" forward, Sigi Schmid said it was not about a "target" man, but how the player helps get Montero space to operate.

We’re looking for a forward who’s going to allow us to stretch the defense and so forth. I think there’s times where Mike [Fucito] has done that. I think we have enough talent that is here. It’s just a matter of seeing who’s playing well and who’s on top of their game.

Sivebaek's opportunity was not part of the original design, as he recovered more quickly than expected from an ankle injury, but it did allow Sigi to try him in a new role.

... so let's take a look at him at center forward and see how he does there. I also wanted to see eventually how he played on the left hand side and see what options there are. He played well the other day and played well again today in his 25 minutes. So at the end of the day that was a situation where this is a guy we need to get out on the field ...

Of the forward mix, Sivebaek joins Cato, Estrada and Fucito as a speedster. While he might not have the strength of Ochoa or Fucito, he does have height that few in the offense offer. He also has passing and dribbling skills in his tool chest. Sigi credited Cordell Cato's goal to Sivebaek's ball skills.

Sivebaek really made that goal for Cordell [Cato] with a good move, a little scoop pass and Cordell got in there.

If you're the type of fan that wants a set First XI, it may be time to realize that the number of options just at the "other" forward position means that a set lineup is highly unlikely.