The summer transfer window is winding down in MLS, officially closing August 6. The Sounders have been linked with a few targets (like Cristian Ledesma), and Sigi Schmid said he had been playing phone tag with a mystery player or two, but nothing concrete has surfaced. Only Erik Friberg has signed since the window opened, and his transfer was in the works for some time before July 8.
Now seems as good a time as any to take a look at potential targets for the Sounders. But instead of looking at frees or dream DP signings, this time let's look at what player from each Major League Soccer team Seattle should take. Sure, most clubs are not looking to trade a star player to a conference foe (or anywhere), so not all of these are feasible. These are signings we would like to see happen in a perfect world. But, since teams would be smart to trade anyone for the right package, any player is eligible for this list.
None of these are based on actual insight or rumors from the Sounders. There is nothing to suggest Garth Lagerwey and co. are actively shopping for any MLS players, but they should listen to us and use this list to do so. To quote Baz Luhrmann "...the rest of my advice has no basis more reliable than my own meandering experience."
This pick was easy. He is perfect for the Sounders system: An attacking mid who likes to play as an inverted winger. He can play in the middle of the park and on either wing. He's young, he's confident, and he can serve a great ball. He is an above average crosser and has a pretty strong outside shot. Shipp knows when to dribble at guys and when to pass. Under the right coach (not Frank Yallop), he'll blossom into a top player in both MLS and the US system.
Susie: Finlay is a speedy, box-to-box midfielder, and at 25 (in a week), he has plenty of great years ahead of him. What makes Finlay so dangerous is the versatility he brings when he gets the ball wide in space: he can send in a dangerous cross, dribble into the box and look for a shot, or slide a pass to his forwards at the top of the box. His short-passing style would mesh well with the Sounders attacking set and Seattle has a pretty good track record when it comes to snagging players from Columbus.
My take on Columbus: there's a lot of guys I considered. Wil Trapp is another great young CM. He could play next to Ozzie and form a very strong and hard-tackling duo. Concussion history and need scares me off a bit. I think with Friberg on the side, there is less of a need for a player like Trapp if the club has a better person available. Finlay will turn 25 in a couple of weeks and is establishing himself as a dominant box-to-box style winger. He is an upgrade over Neagle at the position, and while he can't play up top, it would let Neagle be a super sub at both positions instead of a mid-level starter. Justin Meram would be great as well.
My quest for youth continues. The 24-year-old CB out of Cal had no jitters in his rookie year and has looked great this year as well. He can play RB if needed but is a prototypical CB. He will win his share of MLS Defender of the Year awards, so let's have them be in Rave Green. DC used the 2nd overall pick on him. It would take a lot to get him, but to have a great young defender of MLS Cup caliber is worth it. He is my favorite young defender in the league, it is that simple.
After doing their scouting report, I did not want anyone. But I settled on Laurent Ciman because he is an experienced defender. He's played in Europe with Standard Liege and in top level Euro competitions. An unused sub at the 2014 World Cup for Belgium, he has shown why he deserves to be on the shortlist for the Belgium squad with Montreal. If I had to pick who to start, I'd pick Chad Marshall, but Ciman would be a great complement and is a year younger.
I don't care how good anyone else is there, I want him back. The UCLA and Federal Way product should come back to his home state. Another young kid at 23 (he'll turn 24 in the offseason), he has a lot to offer. Similar to Harry Shipp with his ability to play on either wing and in the middle. He isn't as confident and can fall out of a game much more than Shipp, but again with the right coach and players around him, he'll succeed. Get him in front of his family every night and I am sure he'll play his heart out for the 253. He may upstage and replace the original Mr. 253, but I'll take that.
Thomas McNamara- I did not want anyone. But I said I would pick someone so the former Goat it is. The young CM is kind of like Rowe and Shipp but worse. He can't cross as well but can play as the partner in the Sounders 4-4-2 with Ozzie. So why did I pick him? Because I don't care for Patrick Mullins or Khiry Shelton and told myself before I did it I won't give in to Pirlo's hair and free kicks. Also McNamara is not retiring in two years or so since he's only 24.
Andrew: Sounders actually held his rights. He typically is a sub, but has pulled the strings as a deep-lying midfielder for NYC. Andrew's tweet says it all.
Kwadwo Poku now has 6 assists in 500 min, as many as Dempsey and more than any other Sounder. Traded a 2017 conditional pick for his rights.— Andrew TK (@agtk) July 27, 2015
This was a close one. I really like Matt Miazga as a young CB. He was shaky with the US U20s in the World Cup, but he is a solid CB and will keep growing. He is not Birnbaum, but he will be solid CB for someone in MLS for years. Instead I went for the rock in the center of the park. Dax is a beast. He is Honeybadger Lite. He is not a bad ball distributor and is a great ball winner. Him and Ozzie would be unstoppable and unbeatable. There are a couple duos that would be better (Ozzie and X) but it would be hard to beat.
Orlando City SC
The Canadian just turned 20 and is a rookie, but you would not know it. Sure he makes some mistakes and gets a little hot but overall he starts for the Canadian National Team and is going to be an MLS Golden Boot winner at least once one day. Right now he would not start (though without Clintfemi he would), but he'll be a great sub and can run for days. Bring him on after Clint and Oba have torched a side and get a couple more in the net. He'll learn from two of the best and when it is time for the pair to retire, we'll have the next MVP waiting in the wings.
He is still a great player and has gotten better since leaving Seattle. He can play up top or on the wings but is quite different than Lamar Neagle with how he does it. He is just a different type of player. He is classy on the ball, in the air, and with fans. He is a fan favorite here and I want him back. You can not convince me otherwise.
Likkit: MVP candidate this year, if we ended today he would win it. He is a great player and while Seattle would have to change the formation a bit, a lineup with Clint, Gio, and Oba would light up the league. The defense may be suspect, but just score more than your opponent.
Clement Simonin: Since Gio was already taken, I picked another TFC player. Simonin was the 9th overall pick in the Superdraft this year. He has played one match with TFC but mainly plays at TFC II. He will likely start for an MLS side in a couple of years, if not sooner. He can hit a great diagonal long ball and is tall CB who is strong in the air. He played for the Sounders U23s last year and I have some biases in favor of him. Other options: Bright Dike, so we can finally have a Nigerian National Team player...too soon?
Another side I struggled with. They have a handful of players that are not bad, but none that jump of the page to me. Powers is a CM/CAM but not a traditional #10. He is not great as an inverted winger, or at least has not been in COL. I don't think he fits the formation too well here but I think he can adjust. I think he'd be a strong bench contributor here and is still young. Another player who with the right coaching will be a top player. I also considered James Riley because I want all Sounders back, or almost all.
Ethan: With the interest he's drawn from other more prestigious leagues, he's been rumored to not be long in Dallas (who have said they're not looking to move him until at least the off season). But in order for Dallas to get any allocation money from his departure, the transfer fee would have to be fairly substantial. However, if he were to be traded within MLS Dallas could easily get a fat stack of AM plus a player or two of quality. Seattle would be a perfect trade partner and could use Castillo on the wing. With Dempsey and Oba up top, Castillo wouldn't be relied upon to score goals, which he's not the best at, even if he is on pace for at least 10 goals and 10 assists. Would Dallas be willing to trade their best player to a conference foe? I dunno. But if Castillo's days are numbered in Dallas, they'd be smart to maximize their return, which would be a move within the league.
Since Ethan took Castillo and I think he is one of the best players in MLS to take, I will add another. Decided on yet another Canadian, Akindele. A young striker that is better as a wide striker, in my opinion. He is not going to be an MVP candidate but a solid starter. He's another that with Clintfemi teaching him and leading the way, would learn enough to be a 7-10-goals-per-year player off the bench until they retire.
There are a couple of options, but we don't need Brad Davis. A slow left mid who can't defend, I'll pass. Boniek Garcia, Cubo Torres, and Giles Barnes are good players, but with our roster they would not really help right now. Will Bruin is a poacher but can run in the counter attack pretty well. He is great inside the 18. Bruin could provide what Chad Barrett did last year and more. He can play a full 90 but I see him as a spot starter and sub like Kenny Cooper was last year (without the wing play). At one point he will not be able to start and play 90 minutes week after week and at that point he becomes a discount forward that is still starter material (except for fitness) coming off the bench if you need a goal.
Los Angeles Galaxy
There are a lot of players that I would consider, Robbie Keane and Stevie G are not among those. Sebastian Lletget, Gyasi Zardes, and Juninho are good players that could help Seattle immediately, but none are my choice. First let me say I love Brad Evans, especially at CB, but there is no reason to not get another great CB on our roster. Omar Gonzalez might be the best American CB right now, and while he has not had a great MLS season, he is just in a slump. He's another young CB that would be the rock of a Sounders defense for years to come.
A great player with a bad coach. I have made it widely known I do not like Caleb Porter. He is a great recruiter but not a great coach in my opinion. Nagbe has almost exclusively had Porter coaching him. He has all the skills but it seems to be the mentality that is lacking. I think Sigi, Schmetzer, and Ante Razov could get that out of him and make him the player everyone expects him to be. Portland would never trade him here, but since FIFA 15 let me buy him for the Sounders, I'm sure we can make it work.
Chris: I wrote up the reasoning here, but it is easy to see why the dominant attacker would be good here and why Tobin wants him. He is a great attacker and can turn nothing into goals, much like Oba and Clint can, but plays a deeper role that the Sounders typically are missing. He would make us weaker defensively, but man it would be fun to see him pair with Clintfemi.
This is a duo that would be better than Ozzie and Dax. Beckerman appeared to have lost a step at the Gold Cup but he is still strong. Playing alone or next to Michael Bradley is not a way to tell how a CDM plays though. Beckerman and Ozzie would make one of the most physical and hard tackling CM pairings. I like Beckerman, though not his hair. He would give Ozzie a little more offensive freedom and would allow the Sounders to push their FBs forward more often. Or switch to a 4-3-3, buy down Beckerman and Ozzie with TAM and sign someone like Fredy Montero (remember, I want pretty much every Sounder.)
Dave and I: We both want Fucito because it is Mike Fucito. He is a good sub and would be great with S2 as well to mentor young players. He is one of the hardest working players and I want him. He is one of the biggest fan favorites we have ever had and I want him back. Case closed.
Fatai Alashe: I decided to cover two players here because I think just saying Mike Fucito and yelling his name is losing you the value of analysis and I have tried not to pick the same players as other writers, so here is Alashe. He is young and raw but he is another Ozzie Lite. He is a little more Ozzie-like than Andy Rose, and I wouldn't want to start him with Ozzie right now (I would rather have Rose if we are not using another experienced CDM like Dax or Beckerman). Fatai is a rookie who is playing well, and if he learned from Ozzie and not from San Jose, he would be a good CDM and not a foul machine.
He's a player I have always liked, probably because I like his name. He is one of the best players in MLS this year. I think he would play pretty well next to Ozzie and would pair with him more like Pineda as opposed to another Ozzie-esque defender. Feilhaber has been a beast this year and I'd like to see him in Rave Green. No one else on SKC is a player I truly want. Ike Opara can't help right now and I question how he'll recover. Chance Myers and Jacob Peterson have potential as utility players and Dom Dwyer is goal scorer but I don't like him...Graham Zusi is a good player but I don't think he improves the squad much. Though if we traded Marco Pappa for Zusi, I would be good with that.
Ethan: Laba with Ozzie would be badass. They would be the top duo in the midfield. They would be one of the most complete defensive pairings and both above-average ball distributors. They can start a counter and hold possession. This would be one of the best signings in MLS. Would they let him go to a rival? Never. If we could do it, should we? Yes.
I agree with Ethan on Laba. To me, Laba would be the best CM pair with Ozzie for years to come. But since I am offering you a different player option I have to pick Mauro. He isn't a DP anymore and therefore his pay matches what I expect from him, a spot starter and super sub. Having him and Pappa on the pitch could be problematic in stopping the counter but he would be a great player to come off the bench. I want Mauro back because it is Mauro!
This is an open thread for players you want the Sounders to bring in from other MLS sides. Agree, disagree, and if you have other players, list them!