TUKWILA, Wash. - When Tristan Bowen decided to sign with the Seattle Sounders, he knew what he was getting into.
The Sounders have made the playoffs every year of their existence at least in part to their ability to assemble rosters that were as deep as they were talented. Bowen, who is still just 23 despite six years of MLS experience, knew there would be no such thing as guaranteed playing time.
"This is one of the deepest teams I've been a part of," said Bowen, who played for the LA Galaxy from 2009-10. "There's a lot of quality players and a lot of guys that can step into the first team and get the job done. It's not easy, but that's what you want as a player. You want to be pushed and make sure you're earning your spot."
So far, Bowen hasn't been able to crack head coach Sigi Schmid's gameday roster, let alone play for the senior team. Injuries have been a major reason why the first-ever Homegrown Player has yet to see the field, but now that he's healthy Bowen thinks it is just a matter of time.
"It's certainly something I've dealt with in the past with the Galaxy," Bowen said. "I'm a bit more mature this time around and understand that my chance will come. The important thing is working hard and to make sure when Sigi does call my number that I'm ready to contribute."
Bowen took a significant step in that direction on Sunday in the Sounders' 3-2 win over Chivas USA in the Reserve League. In a lineup that featured the likes of MLS veterans Kenny Cooper and Chad Barrett, Bowen was one of the more dangerous players. He also scored a beautiful goal in the first half, winning a ball in the penalty area and slamming into net from a tight angle.
"I'm getting there," Bowen said. "I'm able to get through 90, but not as sharp as I'd like to be. Doing the extra work on the side to get some things back and develop as a player."