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What we learned about Sounders during preseason

Preseason means notoriously little but that doesn't make it useless.

Last Updated
4 min read
Jane Gershovich / Sounders FC Communications

Preseason is a notoriously awful way to create hard and fast opinions. The Seattle Sounders went winless in 2017, 2019 and 2022, seasons in which they made MLS Cup, won MLS Cup and won Concacaf Champions League, respectively.

That the Sounders didn't exactly come out of the gates flying is obviously something short of ideal, but is also hardly a disaster or even a harbinger of struggles to come.

Still, we saw them play over 500 minutes against opposition so it feels like there's something to learn. Here are some of my thoughts:

The defense is even deeper and maybe even better than last year

This is a pretty high bar, I'll note. The Sounders allowed the fewest regular-season goals (32) in the entire league, while also allowing the fewest expected goals (32.2) and no one had more than the Sounders' 14 shutouts. Their centerback duo is two-time MLS Defender of the Year finalist Yeimar Gomez Andrade and Jackson Ragen, who was called into the United States national team during preseason. Their goalkeeper is Stefan Frei, arguably the most consistent shot-stopper in MLS, and their starting fullbacks are both bonafide internationals.

Waiting in the wings is Ecuador international Xavier Arreaga and rapidly improving youngsters like Reed Baker-Whiting and Cody Baker.

As if bringing all those guys back wasn't enough, they bolstered their backline by signing Nathan, who was one of the league's top defenders before suffering an ACL injury. They also signed Jon Bell, a flexible left-sided defender who should provide more quality depth.

Aside from the Odense BK match where the Sounders got shredded a bit on counter-attacks, they've also looked pretty good. My assumption is that this will, once again, be one of the top defenses in the league.

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