Zach Scott ended his career as the third and fourth centerback on an MLS Cup winner. Now 36 Scott enters the “real world” working in an office, rather than on a soccer field. No longer will the Seattle Sounders have Zach, a new player will be the first and last onto the practice fields of Starfire. This is another difficult review. Zach Scott gave everything to be a Sounder. In 2016 his form finally took a significant dip. He will remain loved as a legend.
The ranking is based on several hundred Sounder at Heart readers’ votes. Realio rated every single MLS regular season and playoff game as well as the two CONCACAF Champions League matches. He did not rate USL or USOC play.
Zach Scott 2016
Never a good passer, his clearances save from danger rather than sparking an attack. A decent secondary target on set-pieces as he wins the ball, but wasn’t able to put it on frame enough in 2016.
Zach’s defense was old-school American soccer. His tackles are harsh and crushing. No one should try to beat him with size or strength. Can be beaten with speed and technique. Weak lateral movements. No longer gets forward enough to contribute as a fullback. Despite a small frame he remained an excellent aerial ball winner. He should mark the primary target on any set-piece.
Scott’s speed of play continued to diminish in 2016. His endurance and strength remained unquestionable. He was always willing to sacrifice an injured and wounded body to help the organization and city that became his home.
Zach Scott was worse in 2016 than 2015, falling from a 5.35 overall average to an even 5 in 2016. That’s below average but as a substitute you knew exactly what you were going to get from Scott. Sigi Schmid showed a lot of confidence in the experience of the veteran centerback, sending him in exactly half of the games he coached, with Zach earning a 4.80 average when playing for Schmid. A disastrous New England game and a rough sending off of Sigi against SKC earned Scott his lowest grades of the year, both 3’s. The highlight for Scott was a sparkling above average 7 in a close loss to Colorado on May 21.
A new coach and a new center back pairing forced Scott farther into the shadows after midseason. Only playing three times for Brian Schmetzer, Scott improved to a 5 in those three appearances. Perhaps more importantly, Scott further improved when it counted most, saving his best ratings for the postseason. Zach played in three matches and his 5.67 playoff average brought his cumulative 2016 average up considerably. This was the fourth highest improvement of any Sounder from MLS regular season to the playoffs, and a small victory for a player who struggled mightily all year.
It’s telling that Scott in his last season only managed five games where I rated him MLS average or better. He struggled, and it was time for him to go, but not without stamping his mark on the franchise. Instead of harping on how bad he played, I would like to just say if anyone deserved higher ratings because of their off field contributions, this would be the guy. Scott was always available to talk, helped and pushed everyone on the team, was in impeccable shape, and was everything you want from a veteran. Like a few others, it was the right time to leave this team, but hopefully the deep positive impact he made on the team will last longer than the quite honestly rough final year that Scott endured. Luck to him and his future.
Best Case 2017:
A promotion at Slalom and watching the Sounders win trophies.