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Players to watch during Sounders preseason

The battles at the top of the roster will get more attention, but now’s a good time to focus on lower-profile competitions.

Last Updated
4 min read

The Seattle Sounders return their entire starting lineup from their 2023 playoff run, meaning most of those spots are pretty well set heading into 2024. There are a couple of notable exceptions, with Jordan Morris and Raúl Ruidíaz both vying for the starting No. 9 role and hopefully soon-to-be-announced signing Pedro de la Vega potentially slotting in at one of the wide midfield spots. Jackson Ragen’s knee injury has also opened the possibility for more of an open competition at centerback where Xavier Arreaga and Nathan are the most likely candidates to fill that spot.

Those situations will likely get plenty of attention over the next month or so. In these early days of preseason, though, I’m a bit more interested in some of the more fringe competitions. Here are some of the players I’ll be keeping an eye on over the next couple of weeks in particular:

Kalani Kossa-Rienzi

The last time a Sounders SuperDraft pick made the first-team roster was Alex Roldan in 2018. Of course, they also only made one first-round pick from 2019-2023 and that was used on a player (Tucker Bone) they expected to serve out his Air Force service requirement. Those caveats aside, I think Kossa-Rienzi has the best chance of getting into MLS of any player they’ve picked since Roldan.

Kossa-Rienzi was the 23rd overall pick in the 2024 SuperDraft, but had been in consideration for a Generation Adidas contract as recently as last year. He spent most of his college career as more of a 6/8 but has been lining up as a right back in Sounders preseason.

At just 5-foot-6, he’s not big, but he has powerful legs and is hard to knock off balance. His college coach, UW’s Jamie Clark, says Kossa-Rienzi reminds him a lot of Cristian Roldan. There are definitely some believers in Kossa-Rienzi’s talent within the coaching staff and scouting departments. I don’t know how likely it is that Kossa-Rienzi is signed to a MLS contract out of preseason, but he’s someone who could definitely earn a call-up.

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