#22 Will Bruin
Realio’s rating: 5.07 in 28 appearances
Community rating: 5.18
MLS App 24, Rating 5.08; CCL App 4, Rating 5.00
2022 Recap: This was a disastrous season for Will, who returned from a 2021 injury and couldn’t make any sort of impact. A late headed goal against Vancouver that brought Seattle within one was one of the few highlights this year for Bruin, but just as this was too little too late, so was his output — 3g 0a. Will never showed talent in 2022 as the guy to come in and consistently change a game, highlighting a giant hole in the roster.
Going Forward: Will’s performance in Seattle has been a struggle for a few years in a row, and five shots on target for an entire season is not enough for a team needing much more from the bench. Bruin is a great guy and likely has something more to offer an MLS team, but expecting his career resurgence would be in direct conflict with the decline that time and injury have done to his output for the past few seasons.
#21 Abdoulaye Cissoko
Realio’s rating: 5.09 in 11 appearances
Community rating: 5.44
MLS App 10, Rating 5.10; CCL App 1, Rating 5.00
2022 Recap: AB dropped off from 2021, playing in four fewer matches and scoring almost a half point less overall, mostly due to late sub appearances. He was still a valuable defensive option as Seattle dealt with extraordinary fixture congestion and injuries throughout the year. A consistent player, Cissoko decreased the volatility of his play in 2022 by being less aggressive. His forward pushing and duel rates dropped as he minimized the big mistakes that plagued his 2021; however, his passing was also less aggressive, and after a few shaky defensive outings, he was passed over by Jackson Ragen for most of the defender minutes.
Going Forward: AB is a solid defensive piece on a very small salary number that likely makes him an appealing option for depth. Still only 22, there is development time still present to fix his positional issues, and if he doesn’t work out in 2023, there is little downside to finding out (as long as he and Nico are getting along now) whether he can take enough of a step to increase his value.
#20 Dylan Teves
Realio’s rating: 5.17 in 6 appearances
Community rating: 5.44
2022 Recap: Starting off very tentative in his first match and rating low, Dylan burst onto the MLS scene away at Toronto at the start of July with a goal in his first start. Showing off excellent game awareness, Teves was in the right spot to score cleanly from a tight angle. That would be his only start, and his passing in sub appearances was dreadful (a team-worst 63%).
Going Forward: Teves is clearly a smart player with a nose for where to be, but he must be much cleaner with his distribution if he wants to earn more time. Failing to complete passes and keep possession was likely the main reason he didn’t play more in 2022. Entering 2023, he will also need to more clearly define his role, as there are minutes to be found in a number of reserve attacking positions.
#19 Léo Chú
Realio’s rating: 5.23 in 26 appearances
Community rating: 5.22
MLS App 25, Rating 5.16; CCL App 1, Rating 7.00
2022 Recap: It was surprising to see that Léo appeared 26 times for Seattle this year, but unsurprising to see a volatile set of ratings. He had a low of 4, on four occasions failing to show MLS-level play. These matches were lowlighted by multiple appearances against rival Portland, as every time Léo entered as a sub he disappeared from the match, failing to create offensive chances. On the opposite end was stellar play on the road against Toronto, as Chú both started the match and played excellently, charging up the wing and creating nearly at will. His assist after beating a man was part of a three-key-pass performance that highlighted a rollercoaster season.
Going Forward: The expectations on Chú this season were high due to his clear potential and moments of quality that shone through at the end of 2021. Unfortunately, Léo often seemed a bad fit tactically for what Seattle was trying to do, consistently at odds with the other creative players on his team and having no impact when attempting to combine with teammates. It may not have been a coincidence that his best performance came surrounded by young players who allowed him a more free-flowing match and in a formation to showcase more of a 1-v-1 style. The potential is there, but Seattle may not be the place for him to realize it.
#18 Josh Atencio
Realio’s rating: 5.33 in 18 appearances
Community rating: 5.53
2022 Recap: Atencio drifted in and out of priority for the Sounders’ midfield backup spots, getting consistent playing time but never fully latching on to starter’s minutes, as Seattle struggled to replace the injured João Paulo. A promising stretch of matches in September had Seattle making their characteristic late-season playoff surge, with Atencio paired with Danny Leyva in the central defensive midfield and earning back-to-back 7 ratings while the Sounders dispatched Austin and Houston. “Josh has excellent positioning and runs well off others. This is a great fit for Seattle, whose midfielders are apt to run all over the field. Atencio has done very well covering and creating space for the success of the players in front of him.” This sort of comment was consistent when Atencio played well; however he continued to miss vertical runners and wasn’t the enforcer the Sounders defense needed at times.
Going Forward: Atencio had 10 fewer starts than last season, even with JP injured, which highlighted Seattle’s struggles to find cohesion centrally. Still only 20, Josh has the positioning (and ratings) needed to be a solid MLS player, but must be paired with an optimal partner to help cover some of his deficiencies. He will need to solidify his role on this team in 2023. Brian Schmetzer needs to know exactly what he is getting out of his bench, and it will be imperative for Atencio to showcase more consistency in playstyle within a year that could include a lot of appearances.