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Ship's Log, Feb. 16: Last chance for a good impression

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4 min read
Sounders FC Communications

Preseason is over. Today is matchday minus-one for the final preseason matches of 2024. Hosting Sacramento Republic in a double bill, the Seattle Sounders basically know what they have. Schmetzer & Co. are likely to be comfortable with the XI and 20.

That doesn't mean we are. Media and fans haven't seen as much as the staff has.

Here's a few players whose performances I'll be focused on during the matches against Republic:

Obed Vargas v. Danny Leyva

These two will insist it's not really a competition. They're part of a brotherhood. Both are hot prospects that were once-rumored to be transferring. They haven't yet. The third defensive mid spot is probably the top spot for these two until an injury crisis. With five subs still available that fifth DM will get time through rotation, for a spark of energy and at one of the wings to lock things down.

Who can embrace that limited role and show more?

Jon Bell v. Cody Baker

MLS benches, even at 9 men, don't tend to carry five fullbacks. With the starters locked and Reed Baker-Whiting likely to return to the No. 1 on both sides once he's healthy Bell and Baker are looking for that rarely used opportunity as the fourth fullback. Both can swing sides, which is a benefit. Bell can play CB and Baker can in a pinch.

As they are going to get significant runs Saturday there's the chance to show that they aren't just a lockdown guy, but someone who can assert themselves.

Dylan Teves v. Paul Rothrock v. Braudilio Rodrigues

One of things this roster has done to me is pit my love of Defiance players against each other. Each this trio's paths is different. Their play, despite all being capable of playing any attacking role and in dire times forward, different. They're each older for prospects too. Their time? It's now.

Now, they have to assert themselves as the one capable of contributing to goals. They can be the 2nd sub every match if they do this. Whoever captures this role needs to have the mind of a baseball closer – there's no such thing as lasting failure.

There's also depth at centerback that needs to be sorted out still. That position doesn't worry me as much. All four players are capable of starting on a club with ambitions for trophies. Ragen will get to full fitness and there will be this CB squad ready to be "many willows - a wall against the wind."

– Dave

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Catching up on Sounder at Heart

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Other Puget Sound soccer

Nos Audietis will be doing a live podcast recording on Tuesday, Feb. 20 at Project 9 Brewery in the Maple Leaf neighborhood (it was originally scheduled for Feb. 13 but had to be moved). The show should run from 7-8 PM, but they are planning to do a little trivia that will start at 6:30 PM. This is doubling as a fundraiser for BF Day Elementary's fifth-grade science field trip, with 10% of sales helping fund the endeavor. There are no tickets required and this is a first-come, first-served seating situation, but if you'd like to pre-purchase a pint so that we have a better idea of how many people to expect, you can do so here.

Looking back at the week's news

Everything else you need to know.

Sounders bid bittersweet farewell to Starfire training facility. The Sounders are leaving Starfire Sports, a training ground they've shared with and built relationships with the community at for 15 years. "It's been a good home for us," said coach Brian Schmetzer. – That's Jayda Evans in the Seattle Times and you should read the whole thing.

Klinsman found a new way to get fired.

Stefan Frei called it. Michael Penix Jr. was the Male Seattle Sports Star of the Year. Jewell Loyd took the women's honors.

MLS, the PA and the BPA agreed to a new anti-discrimination policy (official statements; ESPN).

Doyle expects Josh Atencio to be the Sounders breakout player. Yes, even after last year's breakout. The rest of his Western Conference breakout players can be found at the league site. He also thinks the Sounders are the best team in the West, 3rd overall.

Lindsey Horan apologized for insulting US soccer fans.

More than two million people subbed to MLS Season Pass by the end of the year.

Stars and Stripes FC looks at Reed Baker-Whiting's future.

The nearly annual "What happened to Freddy Adu" story this year is from The Guardian.

Inter Messi broke the salary cap. They have to purge. Anyone want a half-price Yedlin?

What will the NWSL do during the 2026 Men's World Cup? It's complicated.

Sam Mewis is in the Carolina Courage Ring of Honor now. She's the perfect first selection.

Bay FC paid the largest transfer fee in women's history. Get to know Racheal Kundananji.

Olympia's top soccer team is simplifying. No longer the Artesians, they are FC Olympia.

You need more Sue Bird and Megan Rapinoe in your life.

The NWSL has an official phone – Pixel.

The PSRA asked non-member referees to ignore calls to cross the picket line, if they do go on strike. The deadline is rapidly approaching, and I as recently surprised to see the story covered in my employer's newsletter on global news (seriously, I don't write or influence the Forecast).

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