The Sounders need these new players now before it is too late

Having only watched two games and the highlights of two others (because I can not record games off of Apple TV), it seems to me that the Sounders have not done enough to improve themselves to reach the 2023 MLS playoffs.
Before I layout what I think the Sounders need to do, you should know I have been involved in soccer, one way or another, for about the last 40 years. So I think I can give sound advice on what the Sounders need to do to get back to the MLS Cup and back to the Champions League.
Let's first start with our Designated Players: Nicholas Lodeiro, Albert Rusnak and Raul Ruidiaz. For the 2022 season, did any of these three players play at a DP level? That is, did they have an impact on the games that they played in? To me that is what a DP level player should be like.
* Lodeiro had another great year... not as good as in past years... but still a pretty good year.
* Ruidiaz was out quite a bit with injuries and 2022 was not his best year at all... so I would say no.
* Rusnak... he was not very influential at all... to me he hardly made much of an impact and played like your average MLS defensive midfielder. And definitely not at a DP level.
So who do we need to make the Sounders better? Signing Heber from NYCFC for practically nothing was a good move. Unfortunately he has a history of injuries and right now he is out with a hamstring injury. Maybe he is another Brad Smith in that he is out with an injury more often then not. However, I have watched him before and he is not a dynamic striker but rather one that poaches a lot to score his goals. Which is what Will Bruin used to do. So he could be a good fit if he is healthy.
Now let's take a look at the current Sounders squad and see what I think needs to be done.
* Goal keeper -> Frei is the all time best keeper in Sounder's history. It is his job to lose. However, his backup, Stefan Cleveland, is 28 years old and is a pretty good keeper. He needs to start somewhere else before that window closes because of his age.
* Defense -> A very good backline has always been a Sounders hallmark but it has not been the same since we lost Chad Marshall. The 2022 season was probably the worst for that backline. An upgrade here is needed
* Defensive Midfield -> Joao Paulo is very good while Rusnak has been mediocre and definitely not DP quality. I would look at upgrading here.
* Attacking Midfield -> C Roldan and Morris have been pretty decent here and Lodeiro has been marvelous.
* Striker -> Ruidiaz has been great for the Sounders and I think it has gotten to a point that the other teams have learned on how to defend against him. So his effectiveness has gone down and now he is injured more often than not. The addition of Heber shows that the team is thinking the same thing. I think we can still upgrade here as well.
Let's now take a look at the free agent market for some players that I think will be exactly what I think the Sounders need. I like looking at the free agent market first rather than just whose contract might be ending or another team has available, because signing free agents is easier to do and with a lot less strings attached to contracts.
We need a very good center back that is tall and that can dominate in that position like Chad Marshall used to do.
#1 -> Nikola Maksimovic - Serbia, center back, 6' 4", 31 yo, value = $2.13 million
--> significant clubs: Torino, Napolo, Torino; played 25 games for the Sebian national team
--> out of contract since Sept 1, 2022

#2 -> Eliaquim Mangala - France, center back, 6' 2", 32 yo, value = $1.28 million
--> significant clubs: Porto, Manchester City, Valencia, Everton; played 8 games for the French national team
--> out of contract since July 1, 2022

Defensive Midfielder:
This is to take Rusnak's place as a true DP-quality defensive midfielder.
#1 -> Filip Bradaric - Croatia, defensive midfielder, 6' 1", 31 yo, value = $1.81 million
--> significant clubs: Cagliari; 6 games with the Croatian national team
--> out of contract since September 8, 2022
#2 -> Ole Selnaes - Norway, defensive midfielder, 6' 2". 28 yo, value = $2.13 million
--> significant clubs: Saint-Etienne, Zurich ; 32 games with the Norwegian national team
--> his contract ends June 30, 2023
#1: Max Kruse: Germany, forward, 5' 11", 34 yo, value = $1.6 million
--> significant clubs: Werder Breman, St Pauli, Freiburg, Borussia Mochengladbach, Wolfsburg, Union Berlin; 14 games with the German national team
--> out of contract since November 2022
The Sounders have two international slots available and if I could pick from anyone of this list for those two spots, it would be:
* Nikola Maksimovic
* Filip Bradaric
Here is why. Nikola gives us that dominating, tall center back that we are very much missing right now.
Signing Filip would give us two solid and very good DMs that should be able to dominate the center of the field. This would allow the Sounders to control the run of the play quite often. Teams can not win the MLS Cup without a strong defensive midfield. But any of the other players that I mentioned here would greatly help the Sounders.
I have been very frustrated with the lack of perceived action by the front office since the team won the CONCACAF Champions League. I know that the Sounders will do nothing that I mentioned here. So I appreciate you guys reading this rant. Take care and Go Sounders.

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