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Bold Sounders predictions for 2021

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Our staff looks into their crystal ball to see what might happen in the year to come.

MLS: San Jose Earthquakes at Seattle Sounders FC
One of these guys will win MVP, according to Mark Kastner.
Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

We’ve now flipped the calendar on 2020 and can start looking forward to 2021. Our staff has a few predictions for the year ahead:

Sounders will host MLS Cup

Sounders will be back in the MLS Cup Final and they’ll host it. That isn’t a big stretch of the imagination but these next few are a bit more peculiar. The Sounders will have five game-winners by a player not currently on the roster. Xavier Arreaga will not see a yellow card until his fifth appearance. And the Sounders will win the Supporters’ Shield on the last day of the season with an 83rd minute goal, grabbing the win and three points to push Seattle past D.C. United. - Jacob Landsberg

Defense will struggle out of gate

The defense is going to struggle — and that’s not to say that Alex Roldan can’t handle the job. But, shifting from a player like Kelvin Leerdam to Roldan is going to be big change for the defense. Seattle should look to keep Leerdam, to help with the transition, if they eventually want to make Roldan the starter. - Rachael Kriger

Homegrown success

Garth Lagerwey’s approach to player acquisitions to start 2021 leads to homegrown players not named Jordan Morris playing actually significant minutes during the first half of the season and flourishing. At least two of the team’s HGPs become regular contributors while the club continues to find on-field success, and Seattle moves into the top-5 in terms of minutes played by academy products. - Tim Foss

Seattle’s first men’s sports MVP in 15 years

Seattle sports has been lucky to have some incredible superstars over the years, with Hall of Famers in just about every pro sport that’s been played here, and several MVPs for the Storm and Reign. But Ichiro and Shaun Alexander are the only men in Seattle that have managed to win his league’s MVP award in this century, and neither did it in the last 15 years. That changes this year. Both Nico Lodeiro and Jordan Morris were MLS MVP finalists in 2020, but one of them (or even Raul Ruidiaz) is going to win the award in 2021. - Mark Kastner

Sounders will sign at least one U-22 initiative player

The Sounders have made a lot of successful signings over the years, but they’ve almost all been relatively established players in their prime athletic years. Not since signing Fredy Montero as a 21-year-old have they spent significant money on a player so much closer to the start of their professional career as to the end. With the U-22 initiative likely coming online, I think that changes this year. My bet is the Sounders will likely wait until the summer to make that move, but the ability to sign a young player on an effectively unlimited transfer fee is going to be too good to pass up. Adrian Hanauer is one of the architects of this new initiative and I imagine he’s itching to put his theories to test. - Jeremiah Oshan