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Seattle Sounders FC 2 2017 season preview

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In season three it is clear that S2’s direction is towards promise and potential, not necessarily wins.

Year Founded: 2014 (started play in 2015)

Affiliation: Seattle Sounders FC

2016 record, place in Conference standings: 9-8-13, 12th in the Western Conference

2016 playoffs: Did not qualify

Key additions: Javorn Stevens, Shandon Hopeau, Brian Nana-Sinkam, David Olsen

Key departures: Mark O’Ojong, Darwin Jones, Victor Mansaray (on loan to FC Cincinnati)

Projected/ideal starting XI (4-2-3-1): Brian Meredith; Jake Morris, Brian Nana-Sinkam, Riley Grant, Denso Ulysse; Sam Rogers, Ray Saari; Shandon Hopeau, Zach Mathers, Irvin Parra; Javorn Stevens (First Team players in bold; Academy players playing up in italics)

When S2 started play in 2015 there was a lot of uncertainty about what their exact role in the Sounders’ organization would be, at least to the outside observer. The 2015 team was one that looked built to challenge for the USL title. However, after a somewhat successful league campaign in 2015, S2 looked to get younger and include their Academy players more in competitive games in 2016. The team finished well- down the table but were successful in another way: they produced three players for the First Team; Nouhou Tolo, Jordy Delem and Zach Mathers.

In the run-up to the 2017 season it has become absolutely clear that S2’s only goal is to produce players for the First Team. In the offseason they cut everyone with no future with the First Team and looked to get even younger. Of course the team would still like to do well in the league, but they are not signing players with an eye towards winning in the USL. S2 is about one thing: the future.

Why you should watch Sounders FC 2 in 2017:

Promise. Potential. #TheFuture.

3 players to watch:

Javorn Stevens: The young striker put on a clinic at the U20 Caribbean Championships, scoring 5 goals and captaining Antigua and Barbuda to a 2nd place finish. He brings a lot more than goals and his holdup play is set to be key to S2’s success.

Shandon Hopeau: After some exciting performances during preseason with the First Team, Academy player Hopeau looks like he could be set for a big year with S2. He is a quick winger who isn’t afraid to take players on and drive into the box.

Brian Nana-Sinkam: S2 desperately need a centerback to step up if they are going to remain competitive this year. Even though he struggled in preseason, Nana-Sinkam seems the most likely to succeed. He needs to learn how to better compensate for his size, if he does, he could be a very good USL centerback.

The 2017 season will be a success if...

Two of the following three things happen: the path from the Sounders Academy to Sounders FC 2 to Sounders FC becomes more well worn; one of the U20 Internationals brought in for S2 plays significant minutes for the First Team over the next few years; S2 sneak into the playoffs.

Review of S2’s preseason matches against Seattle University, the University of Portland and Oregon State.