The Seattle Sounders officially kick off the 2014 MLS season this Saturday, March 8th. If that day seems special for some reason, it should be, as it's this writer's birthday. Presents are welcome, though not expected. So what better way to get ready for the upcoming season than a new edition of Infrequently Asked Questions. As always, the questions were gathered from a variety of social media outlets and are 100% legit and not made-up.
Q. I can't wait for Saturday! Are you excited?
A. I'm extremely excited. I hope high hopes for this new-look Sounders team.
Q. You're not kidding about new-look Sounders. Who are these guys?
A. Most of the players you should recognize, as MLS experience was a common theme in the Sounders offseason acquisition. Chad Marshall is an All-Star level CB who played for Columbus Crew last year. Stefan Frei, previously with Toronto FC, has, at times, looked to be one of the best keepers in the league. Marco Pappa, formerly ofChicago Fire and some Dutch team, is a human highlight reel. You've got Kenny Cooper, of NYRB and more recently FC Dallas, and he scores lots of goals every even year. Plus you can throw in Tristan Bowen from Chivas and Jalil Anibaba from Chicago, who might even start as CB against Sporting Kansas City. Plus we signed draftees Damion Lowe, Jimmy Ockford (since loaded to NY Cosmos), and Fabio Pereira, and brought in internationals Gonzalo Pineda and Micheal Azira.
Q. That's a lot of new players. So, Anibaba? Is that like some song from the Disney movie Aladdin?
A. No, that's Ali Ababwa.
Q. Great song though. Catchy too, don't you think?
A. Can we get back to talking about the Sounders?
Q. Great movie though.
A. You remind me of the parrot Iago.
Q. What?! Why?
A. I don't know, that's just the voice I hear when I read your questions.
Q. Is it alright if I shout, "Oh Pappa!" in a moment of elation?
A. Yes, however you run the risk of being judged by those around you.
Q. What about, "Pappa can you hear me?"
A. That's worse.
Q. So then is it okay if I make "Hanging with Mr. Cooper" references?
A. Every fan is allowed one, but only one. Any more and you risk becoming "that guy".
Q. Since we got so many new guys, that means we had to lose a lot of players, doesn't it?
A. Yeah, fans of the Sounders have never seen this amount of turnover before. Mauro Rosales and Eriq Zavaleta (on loan) went to Chivas USA, Steve Zakuani went to Portland Timbers, Eddie Johnson and more recently Alex Caskeynow play for DC United. Marc Burch plays for Colorado Rapids. Adam Moffat was traded to FC Dallas. Both Jhon Kennedy Hurtado and Patrick Ianni were traded to Chicago Fire. And it looks like fan-favorite and hero-of-the-galaxy Shalrie Joseph will be playing for New England Revolution this year.
Q. Okay, I get the picture, all our guys went to other MLS teams. Did anybody go oversees?
A. Sadly Michael Gspurning was a cap casualty, but he ended up in Macedonia playing for PAOK FC of the top-flight Superleague Greece.
Q. So then who's the starting goalkeeper?
A. That's still up in the air, whether it'll be Frei or Hahnemann between the posts.
A. Yes, yes I do.
Q. So now that Mauro Rosales is gone, who's the Sounders third DP?
A. Osvaldo Alonso. The other two DPs are Clint Dempsey and Obafemi Martins.
Q. But what about this Didier Drogba fellow I've heard so much about? How will the Sounders sign him if we already have three DPs?
Q. You mean magic? Magic doesn't actually exist, does it?
A. How do you explain Matthew McConaughey winning an Oscar?
Q. Alright, alright, alright, you got me there. So if the Sounders have got magic on our side, will they win trophies this year?
A. Seeing has how the Sounders have more years of winning trophies than years of not winning trophies, the odds are in their favor.
Q. So I should get my hopes up?
A. There are reasons to be optimistic.
Q. Like what?
A. The defense looks to have that stand-out stopper the Sounders have lacked recently, couple that with the maturation of DeAndre Yedlin and the possible emerging relevance of Dylan Remick, Sounders could again be near tops of the league in fewest goals allowed.
Q. What about the offense?
A. Having a healthy Obafemi Martins, where he had an offseason to rest and train with the team, should be a huge benefit to the offense. Add in always-dangerous Marco Pappa, Kenny Cooper, and Deuces-Wild Dempsey, that's some good MLS offense that there is. MLS veteran Chad Barrett is also on the squad and can bang-in some goals, and newly resigned Lamar Neagle is ever-present.
Q. What's the formation going to look like?
A. The Sounders haven't played an ideal XI so far this preseason, with Clint Dempsey being out on loan throughout, so different 4-4-2 variants have made appearances. This article has what you need.
Q. So do you have any fancy plans for First Kick? Gonna get day-drunk?
A. Unfortunately I'll be working.
Q. Wow, that sucks. Who works at noon on a Saturday anyway?
A. The Sounders.
Q. Wait, do you play for the Sounders?
A. I'm not going to dignify that question with an answer.
Q. Is there a possibility Obafemi Martins and Marco Pappa do tandem backflips this season?
A. You mean backflipping whilst they hold hands?
Q. Ohhh man I just had a fangasm.
A. That's, uh, nice? It's safe to assume you can't wait until the MLS season starts.
Q. You'd better believe it! So is this another MLS Cup or Bust season?
A. I wouldn't go that far. I think there are expectations for the Sounders to make the playoffs and earn their way back into CCL for 2015, but not winning the MLS Cup wouldn't constitute this season a failure. There's too much variability in any given season to declare such bold statements like that, especially when coupled with how other teams in the league continue to improve. However, the Sounders are just as equipped as the next best team at making a post-season push.
Q. And then we can have another championship parade in downtown Seattle with 700,000 fans?
A. Hopefully it won't be so cold this time.
Q. Don't worry, with global warming happening it won't ever be this cold again.
A. I don't think you understand how global warming works.
Q. But as long as I have the fiery passion of the Sounders burning hot in my heart I'll never be cold again, right?
A. Actually yeah, that makes a lot of sense, scientifically speaking.
A. No, you're an idiot.
Q. Aww, shucks. Go Sounders?
A. Now that we agree on. Go Sounders!
Do you have any questions, comments, or clarification? Leave them down below and they'll either be addressed immediately, in the next iFAQ, or never.