Sitting with the number three spot in Allocation Order the Seattle Sounders FC hosted several possible targets for that spot over a long weekend that saw nearly 100,000 people in the stands and soccer events throughout the city. Adrian Hanauer, the scouting staff, Brad Evans and Eddie Johnson essentially hosted a recruiting trip.
Here's what Johnson said after Tuesday's game:
"I've been telling the guys throughout the week to wait until game day. They got a taste of it in the Vancouver game. It's all the boys have been talking about after the game: the crowd and how they'd love to play in Seattle one day, and saying ‘Eddie you're lucky to play in front of such great fans with great passion.' They all said it was like a European atmosphere."
Johnson would not say which players liked things the most, but there are some assumptions that could be made on who might consider coming here in the near future. First, the Sounders don't currently have the ability to sign someone that would require a DP spot. Second, players in the EPL, Serie A, Bundesliga or La Liga are not coming to MLS unless in a McBride-ish retirement and Seattle likely does not need that. Third, a couple of the rostered players' rights are held by MLS teams (Goodson, Parkhurst). Lastly, guys on MLS teams don't go through Allocation.
That whittles the realistic possibilities down quite quickly and it becomes a list of primarily Liga MX guys and/or players where loans make sense because they are young and need time, but are better than MLS quality and yet to peak.
Damarcus Beasley, Joe Corona, Stu Holden, Edgar Castillo, Terrance Boyd and Sacha Kljestan hold up after the initial filters. Sacha used to play here and does not need to return. Boyd is ripping up a solid league and will likely be in Germany again soon. Holden is on the path back. Castillo and Corona are both regulars in Liga MX sides.
It seems the only logical play is the same play that is always mentioned. Run DMB is probably on the outs in Puebla as he's demanding a large raise. His World Cup future is as a left back and would be a significant improvement there for any MLS side.
There is one issue. Both teams (TFC, PDX) ahead of Seattle could also use his talents. Portland also gets to put on a National Team show in the near future and while it will be smaller (it's Portland) there could be an appeal to playing there. Some guys like small, tight stadiums rather than large palaces of soccer love. The Timbers left backs this year are Michael Harrington and Jack Jewsbury (yes, really). DMB would be a game-changer for them.
Let's just assume he does not want to go to Toronto. They still would be involved, because both Seattle and Portland could make a play for a talented US player that could fill one of their weaker positions. As we saw Tuesday night his moves into the attack are quite good. He has vision, speed, short passing and even a decent shot (posted, but still good). What he lacks in positional awareness he makes up for with great speed.
In Seattle it would almost completely transition the team to a 2-4-4 with two aggressive fullbacks on both sides. The attack would be increased significantly. With Alonso and Joseph/Carrasco in the middle the defense may be good enough to cover for that much forward action.
But, a bidding war with Portland would be harsh. Toronto has many needs and both teams could improve the Reds. Is it worth it for Seattle to trade up in order to snag Beasley on the down swing of his career when he'd miss games for Qualifying and the actual World Cup? That's a tough call. The XI would be stronger and depth is less necessary this season and next so a move likely makes sense, but it is going to cost the club players/money/draft picks/international slots.
This could all be moot. Damarcus could get his Liga MX payday and then MLS is an afterthought, but if he does indicate he wants to come back the Sounders should pay the price and add him. It works towards improving that top end of the roster, which is all that matters now.