It took until the first day of preseason training camp, but the Seattle Sounders finally signed a second centerback. Shane O’Neill — a MLS veteran and former United States youth national teamer — was officially announced on Tuesday.
“Shane is a good veteran player that addresses a position of need for us,” Sounders FC General Manager & President of Soccer Garth Lagerwey said in a team release. “He’s a guy with experience in MLS and abroad, and we’re looking forward to welcoming him to the squad as preseason camp begins.”
O’Neill first signed with the Colorado Rapids in 2012 as a Homegrown Player when he was still just 18. As a 19-year-old he had a standout season, making 25 stars as the Rapids made a surprise run to the playoffs behind a defense that allowed the second fewest goals in the league. He eventually played there six seasons before bouncing around several teams in England and Europe. His most extensive experience came in the Netherlands second-division with NAC Breda where he played about 2,000 minutes in 2016-17.
O’Neill joined the Eredivisie’s Excelsior for the following season but made just one appearance before heading back to MLS in 2018. He spent the last two seasons with Orlando City where he made played about 2,000 total minutes.
The current state of the roster aside, the Sounders probably aren’t looking for O’Neill to be a regular starter. But he does give them the sort of aerial presence they currently lack among defenders and at 6-foot-2 is an imposing physical presence.
A brief thought on @sounderatheart's reporting Shane O'Neill is practicing with the Sounders. Departure of Chad Marshall and Roman Torres clearly leaves a gap in CB aerials attempted and success rate. O'Neill's 2019 (SO2019) fits the need, his MLS career to date does not. pic.twitter.com/o4WAWUHUfc— Benjamin Harrison (@NimajnebKH) January 14, 2020
O’Neill will most likely fill the role vacated by Jonathan Campbell, competing for third or fourth centerback minutes once the Sounders’ roster is closer to complete.