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2016 Sounder at Heart staff predictions: Players

It shouldn't be a surprise that the Sounders have high quality, but this is a good reminder.

Mike Russell Foto

Every year the staff of this here website thingy is polled about our predictions for the upcoming year. We are often bullish on the season and players. That's not unique; we're all fans of the team who pay more attention to Seattle than any other MLS side.

What makes this year interesting is that the player-centric version of this preseason polling is so diverse.

Let's look at the attack:

Only four names were put down as possibilities for Offensive Player of the Year, but it's not like just one player ran away with expectations. Clint Dempsey was the favorite for 50 percent of the 20 staffers that answered the poll. Andreas Ivanschitz was for 45 percent and Nelson Haedo Valdez also got a vote. The only one that didn't was Jordan Morris. None have won this recognition by the site before.

Morris took 80 percent of voting for the Young Player of the Year. And yes, that means someone else got YPoY votes - Cristian Roldan. That would be a repeat for the former Husky.

The predictions for defense are even more diverse, and probably where Seattle will have huge amounts of success. Remember, that on SaH the associated award is not merely for defenders, but instead for defensive players (CDM, CB, LB, RB, GK).  Stefan Frei and Brad Evans split the lead with 30 percent each. Newcomer Joevin Jones comes in 3rd with 20 percent. Despite being out until May(ish) Roman Torres got three votes, and three-time winner Osvaldo Alonso earned a vote. Chad Marshall has won this before and yet did not get a vote.

This year I also asked which players could pop into the 2016 MLS Best XI. People are high on the talent of this starting eleven:

Andreas Ivanschitz - 8 
Clint Dempsey - 7
Brad Evans - 3
Joevin Jones, Roman Torres - 2
Stefan Frei, Osvaldo Alonso, Jordan Morris - 1

A three-time MLS Defensive Player of Year did not get a vote, but there's always a chance that Dad Marshall earns recognition around the league.

The fact is that Garth Lagerwey & Co. put together as strong a roster as ever, even after losing Obafemi Martins.

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