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Have Sounders changed their thinking about a new Designated Player?

Brian Schmetzer seems to suggest team is looking at multiple positions for potential upgrade.

Victor Rodriguez has been good when healthy, but he’s been unable to consistently get on the field.
Kayla Mehring / Sounder at Heart

Brian Schmetzer identified at least two positions that could be due for potential additions during the summer transfer window, outside midfield and defensive midfield.

“I would always love reinforcements as a coach,” Schmetzer told reporters on Tuesday. “With Victor’s kind of injury that’s kind of sidelined him; an Ozzie replacement, some of things there are areas where we could improve.”

Behind the scenes, there had been signals that if the Seattle Sounders were to expend significant resources on another Designated Player this summer, the position they were most likely to target was a longterm replacement for Osvaldo Alonso. Schmetzer’s comments seem to suggest that there’s possibly been some rethinking of that. There have been other indications that the team sees more of an immediate need to spell Victor Rodriguez, who has been battling injuries for much of his time with the Sounders and has played just five times over the past three months. Rodriguez has been effective when healthy, but it’s now an open question as to whether or not he can be relied upon.

Possibly also informing their decision is the earlier than expected emergence of Danny Leyva as a MLS-caliber central midfielder. Although it’s unclear if he’s more of an 8 or a 6 — and maybe even a 10 — Leyva is already pushing more veteran players for minutes.

Further complicating the situation is that the Sounders don’t currently have an open international roster spot. That could make a trade within MLS a bit more tempting — although they would almost certainly not use a DP spot for that. Kelyn Rowe, a local product who the Sounders have long coveted, may be among the players available now that he seems to have fallen out of Sporting KC’s rotation and played last week with Swope Park Rangers.

As you would expect, though, Schmetzer also signaled confidence in the group as it’s already assembled.

“If it happens, great, I know those guys are working feverishly on getting another player,” he said. “If not, I’m confident this squad we have now can do some damage in the playoffs.”

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