It's been a busy offseason for Seattle Sounders FC. They declined options with eight players (two of whom's rights they lost in the Re-Entry Drafts), the rights to Jalil Anibaba went to Orlando City SC and moved again, the DeAndre Yedlin transfer saga is over, the club signed Tyrone Mears (in December) and Troy Perkins (last week) on frees, Darwin Jones (January) and Victor Mansaray (November) both joined as HGPs and they just added Cristian Roldan, Tyler Miller and Oniel Fisher in the Draft. That's a lot of change, and yet the starting XI looks quite familiar. The only change from the end of the year is at right back.
UPDATE: Sounders FC drafted the following players in the 3rd and 4th round - Andy Craven (F, senior contract), Charlie Lyon (Keeper) and Andrew Bevin (F)
It's a top end of the roster that was mostly responsible for winning the Supporters' Shield. The depth looks improved. There are still clear needs, but they will not be met in the third and fourth round of the draft.
If the assumption is that the new CBA does not make dramatic changes to the roster rules or acquisition methods then Seattle's remaining needs are;
- Another CB that could challenge for starting time
- A depth winger
- A third keeper if Miller does not sign
If the new CBA increases the cap significantly, rules change and acquisition methods simplify the needs shift;
- starting caliber centerback
- a winger that could force Neagle/Evans/Pappa situation to get even murkier
- starting caliber right back
The current depth chart does have positional discussions that will become clear during training camp. Is Brad Evans the starting right back or does he resume his role as an always starter, mostly as a right mid? Can Zach Scott maintain the form that showed he was the best partner for Chad Marshall in 2014 or will one of the youngsters earn that spot? Is Perkins satisfied backing up Stefan Frei or will he challenge?
There will also likely be a flood of players for Sounders 2. The USL PRO side currently has zero players, at least officially. Yes, there are players for which the team still holds rights (the option declined players as well as a few former draftees). Some of those players should be expected back when training camp opens late next week.
But the club also still has talent through its Academy ranks that are not signed. Several of these would make sense as players signed to S2 deals that would earn 1st Team time in a year or two.
There are also a few players in the current Academy season who will be called up several times a year who have yet to break onto this list (Bowman, Samkange, Noblat and French should join Westa, DeGroot and Ramos on #TheFuture soon).
Sitting here with another draft on the way, it is apparent that there is enough talent to challenge for major trophies again, but there are also still a few needs for the 1st Team and massive needs for Sounders 2.