After Tuesday's practice Sigi Schmid clarified that not all players at practice are trialists. Both Tally Hall and Josh Ford are with the club getting extra training in as they continue to find their path to contracts in 2016. This is not to say that if they perform well and the numbers are right they would not be signed, but they are technically not trialists that Seattle Sounders FC are looking to possibly fill the one to three open roster spots available to draftees and trialists. We previously covered the S2 invitees, now meet the new and old guys here in Tukwila.
Ben Speas: The former Columbus Crew HGP signee was not retained by Gregg Berhalter after playing in only eight matches last season, a drop off from the 19 in 2013 and 13 in 2014. Speas split his time roughly 50/50 between starting out wide and as the attacking midfield in Columbus' 4-5-1. He played as a right mid mostly during the eight-a-side matches during Saturday's training and showed his ability to cut inside. Naturally right footed, he'd fit in better as an inverted winger on the left for the Rave Green, which is how he played in Columbus. He just turned 25, the question will be is he better than a player like Kovar, will he be an improvement off the bench? He's intriguing but if he isn't a vast improvement from how he played for the Crew, don't expect him to continue after Arizona.
Nathan Sturgis: It's no doubt by now the Sounders will be playing with three center mids, at least most of the time. The team went out and signed Michael Farfan as a 4th string CM and will be looking to add more. Sturgis is a player that went through all the different player mechanisms after Houston declined to bring him back and no one bit. He played for the Sounders in the past and had a mutual desire to come to Seattle. He's likely competing with Sergio Mota for a roster spot. Sounders fans know what they are getting with Sturgis, he's pretty vanilla and not the greatest passer but overall he's a middle of the road box-to-box and holding mid and would sign at the veteran minimum. Also the only trialist that Sigi confirmed is in attendance.
Anthony Wallace: He's bounced around the country, originally coming out as a Generation Adidas signing for FC Dallas. He hung around there for three years before going to Denver to play for the Rapids for three more. After that he left MLS and played for the Tampa Bay Rowdies for a season before the NY Red Bulls signed him to play with the club last season where he saw six appearances for NYRB and NYRB II each. He scored three goals in his 12 appearances, all as a left back. He is more attacking than Remick is but not as disciplined as Joevin Jones. Wallace is likely being looked at as a potential left wing option who can be left back depth but it is unlikely he sticks around. Oh and happy belated birthday as he turned 27 yesterday.
Ian Lange: After playing for the University of Washington and the Sounders Academy, Lange's soccer career is at a break point. In college he played mostly as a defensive mid, but also spent time (intakes deep breath) as central attacking midfielder, box-to-box center mid, right mid, left mid, right back and centerback. He was mostly a CB with the Academy. If Lange has a future as a pro soccer player it will be with a lesser version of the skill-set that Geoff Cameron displays.
Michael Gallagher: Once he was Lange's defensive partner, back when they were in the Academy together. Unlike Ian, Gally is a traditional American CB. He is large, bold and unafraid. As a senior he moved forward on the pitch playing some defensive mid and central midfielder. He's got the potential to be a pro while displaying the skills that someone like a Jeff Parke did.
Shane Howarth: Shane comes out of Seattle University and the tutelage of Pete Fewing. The tall, lanky keeper comes out of Tacoma by way of Emerald Ridge High School and the South Hill Revolution. He was a late bloomer only earning the starting position his final two years saving about 80% of shots and earning 19 shutouts. He also started six games as a sophomore.
Tally Hall: The former Orlando City SC and Houston Dynamo keeper is from Gig Harbor so it makes sense he wants to be up here (if that is the case). He was able to play 23 matches last season for OCSC after tearing his ACL in 2014 in Houston, but then tore his meniscus in the penultimate game of 2015 and is still recovering. By all appearances, he's only training here while he regains his health. Still just 30, Hall was one of the top goalkeepers in the league not so long ago and likely has some good years left. The chances of him coming to Seattle as a cheap backup don't seem particularly high.
Josh Ford: Another former Orlando keeper is here as a guest player. Ford, a former Sounders keeper, supposedly was going to train elsewhere but plans fell through and so he joined up with the Sounders and is here in training. Between OCSC and the Ft. Lauderdale Strikers he played in 18 matches. While he'd sign for less than Tally Hall, he isn't an improvement from Miller and would be a direct replacement for Charlie Lyon but at five year's older that is not likely. Expect Ford to just hang around until he gets a call from another club or the Sounders do not need extra keepers in training. Hall may be in the running for a roster spot but Ford is just flirting at rekindling some Rave Green love.
The Sounder at Heart preseason depth chart is up-to-date, but will likely change when the club heads down to Tucson for phase two of their preseason.