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Transfer targets within MLS we think could help (not save) the Sounders

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Is the final piece of the Sounders roster puzzle already in MLS? Probably. It’s not a pretty piece.

While the exciting signing, if it happens, would be another Designated Player or player requiring TAM money, there is a strong chance that the Seattle Sounders also acquire a player from within USA/Canada. They only have one international slot open right now, and in 2017 there are not a glut of international slots to acquire at low costs. No player is on the verge of getting a green card. They do have a lot of allocation money on hand, but spending it all severely limits the ability to build a 2018 roster.

With these thoughts in mind, let’s look through likely available options that would require light resources — something like a second round draft pick or the minimal amount of allocation money. None of these are sexy moves. Instead they are merely intended to be competing for third substitute minutes. Currently those third subs would be players like Seyi Adekoya, Victor Mansaray, and Henry Wingo.

Target forward types

Teal Bunbury: A once promising youngster, Bunbury is now a seasoned veteran with the New England Revolution, who could be a target man but often plays as a creative midfielder. The American international is no longer in USMNT plans and would need a miracle resurgence to his form back in 2011. With the Revs moving up in Allocation Order, they are likely to sign a forward or attacking mid, and then Teal is a spare part.

Minutes: 316 | Goals: 1 | Assists: 0 | xG+xA/96: 1.13 | Salary: 260k | Age: 27

Ugo Okoli: The target man without a role is a former Sounder, one of three on this list, but shouldn’t be of interest for that reason. He is interesting for this roster because after Will Bruin the only target forward type is Mansaray. Vic tends to play more like early Eddie Johnson though, and so if the team needs late hold-up play and a bit of a threat on set-pieces, Ugo (how he’s now asked to be known) could help his former club.

Minutes: 231| Goals: 1 | Assists: 0 | xG+xA/96: 0.36 | Salary: 53k | Age: 24

Alan Gordon: The most talented player that will be mentioned, and the most costly. The Colorado Rapids signed him as a free agent last winter, but don’t need an old dude. There is little chance that Colorado goes on a run, and they should probably start rebuilding now. Gordon could fill both the target man role, and the Valdez-hustle role. His cost should be the only concern. He is the ideal piece for a team that only needs a rental forward.

Minutes: 410 | Goals: 2 | Assists: 2 | xG+xA/96: 0.36 | Salary: 180k| Age: 35

Adam Jahn: At best, the former USL star is the poor man’s Alan Gordon. In fact, they were in the same organization for a little while. Lost on the bench with the Columbus Crew, the former Earthquake offers soft feet, but is not much of a target for crosses. He can be good at slowing down a game when his side has a lead. The Crew don’t have someone else in his bench role, but it’s not as if they are using him. He is young enough that if a move helps him, he can be useful for a couple years.

Minutes: 257 | Goals: 0 | Assists: 1 | xG+xA/96: 0.24 | Salary: 93k | Age: 26

Internally, the Sounders could decide that Irvin Parra fits this role. It would mean giving a current player a raise, as the team filled all of its Reserve roster slots.

Pressing/energy mid/forwards

Lamar Neagle: D.C. United is a broken team with a horrible offense. Neagle is part of that reason. The beloved son of Federal Way is probably more suited to a pressing role from either the wing or forward position than he is running a whole attack through him (like United did in 2016). Don’t expect that nine goal and nine assist action from way back in ‘14. Instead, a move for Neagle would be a way to signify that every attacking sub is expected to defend first and score second.

Minutes: 1019 | Goals: 1 | Assists: 0 | xG+xA/96: 0.37 | Salary: 203k | Age: 30

Sebastien Le Toux: The final former Sounder isn’t here for nostalgia reasons, but again, because United has a broken offense and their free agent signing isn’t helping them. With a return to Seattle, Seb’s role would be kind of like Valdez’ role in ‘16. He can still press and plays with energy, if no longer with speed. I’ll admit that getting the once lanky kid back with the coach that turned him into a USL legend would be a good story, but the better story would be the way that Le Toux chases every ball.

Minutes: 684 | Goals: 2 | Assists: 0 | xG+xA/96: 0.25 | Salary: 140k | Age: 33

It’s funny that D.C. United might be interested in shipping these two out while acquiring a different forward, but neither former Sounder is good right now. That’s why they should be available.

Internally, this role could be filled by David Olsen.

Speed demons

Erik Hurtado: Where the DC players are notable for their effort, Hurtado is the fast player who tends to pay attention when his team has the ball. Way back in ‘14, the Whitecaps thought they had found a player who could be a crucial part of an attack. Now, he is a spare part on a team that needs to build for its future. Sometimes a change of scenery helps, and Hurtado offers the most similar skills as Adekoya. Many SaH contributors think that this is the weakest of possible moves as he doesn’t add veteran savvy and essentially duplicates what the Sounders can find from their HGPs.

Minutes: 182 | Goals: 1 | Assists: 1 | xG+xA/96: 0.28 | Salary: 136k | Age: 26

Internally, this role has no analog, though Olsen is a fast-ish player, and closest to being ready for prime time. They do already have attacking speed in Adekoya, Kovar and Wingo.

These players should not be thought of as potential starters. The concept is more about making certain that Brian Schmetzer has a full bench and that the end would be filled with a talent that has one pure skill.