When Magnus Wolff Eikrem was signed shortly before the start of the season, the expectation was that the Norway international would quickly integrate into the team. After he scored in his Seattle Sounders debut — off a beautiful 1-2 with Clint Dempsey — it looked like it might happen quicker.
More than two months have passed since then, but rather than establishing himself as one of the team’s creative forces, Wolff’s spot in the team remains unclear. Even with the prolonged absence of Victor Rodriguez and Clint Dempsey and Nicolas Lodeiro miss multiple games apiece, Wolff has more often than not found himself coming off the bench. Many of us have been left scratching our heads.
Getting his first start since being pulled at halftime of the Sounders’ 1-0 loss to the Montreal Impact on March 31, Wolff responded with his most complete performance in helping spark the Sounders’ 2-1 win at Toronto FC.
“He played well,” Sounders head coach Brian Schmetzer said on Friday. “He did exactly what we asked him to do.”
Wolff’s assist to Will Bruin was easily the highlight of the game, but his work on the defensive end may be the thing that keeps him in Schmetzer’s good graces.
“You always ask yourself the question, ‘Is it the 11 best players or the 11 players that fit best together?’ That’s always one of your basic questions when you’re setting a lineup,” Schmetzer continued. “He had a couple good games, then some not so good games. Does he do the defensive work? Is he creative in the attack? Who is surrounding him? I mean, let’s be honest, he’s the new guy on the block, Clint and Nico are probably going to get the first couple shots at it, right?
“He’s been patient and he rewarded himself with a good performance. I expect him to play more games this year if he can replicate what he did not just because of the one play, but he also did some other stuff on the field that we liked that’s important.”