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Second chances to rave — Finding right back depth in former Sounders

GM Garth Lagerwey has massive organization-wide holes to fill on the right side. Here’s a few players who should get a second look.

Charis Wilson - Tacoma Defiance

When budgets get tight people get inventive. It’s how Welsh rarebit (toast with cheese sauce) became an entrée and how chicory became a coffee replacement. In a salary cap league operating through the pandemic, the Seattle Sounders are about to have to get creative — especially on the right side of the organization depth chart.

Across Sounders-Defiance-Academy there is only one player whose best position is right back — recent convert Alex Roldan. Cristian Roldan could play there, but he’s more valuable as a starter at DM or right mid. Rumored signing Kelyn Rowe has yet to start at fullback on the right, but maybe? he could. At this point Tacoma Defiance have three players who could play there, but all of them are better in other roles.

At a minimum, the org needs someone who could challenge Alex and start for Tacoma Defiance (even if they think Sota Kitahara’s peak talent is at right back someday).

There are limitations on scouting talent in the pandemic environment. The travel necessary to finalize a decision is hazardous, at best, and in some cases impossible.

This is why the Sounders should get some organizational depth from former talents that have left to seek their fortune elsewhere. Here’s a few worth a second look:

Denso Ulysse

The former S2/Defiance player was released at the end of the 2019 season and signed to an MLS deal with Inter Miami. Unfortunately, he sustained an injury that kept him off matchday rosters for the entire season. Miami did not retain his talents. He’s available on a free.

Ulysse is fast, and a pretty good ball carrier. His defense is fine. Often he will get bogged down in decision-making rather than attempt a decisive pass or try to dribble past a defender to create an overload.

Tobi Jnohope

After a handful of appearances with S2 and in the Academy, the Florida native did not sign a contract with Defiance or the Sounders, and instead played for the University of Denver. Jnohope’s career then took an odd spin. He’s played for a club in the top flight of Malta and another that drifts between pro and semi-pro in Italy (it’s hard to tell without knowing Italian).

An undersized CB with great speed, Tobi has promising physical traits for the wingback style that Seattle wants. The big question is “can he integrate into the attack?” and that’s not knowable until he gets a look.

Toshi Chaffin

With a single pro season with Oakland Roots back in their NISA days, Satoshi Chaffin’s career ran into the same thing many careers did. He lost 2020 for unknown reasons, but the pandemic destroyed the NISA schedule more than most leagues.

Toshi is a former attacking midfielder who drifted into a modern right back. He was a strong passer in the Academy, who succeeded at interacting with a band of three and forward that includes several other short-time pros. He was the type of talent that maximized the way that other’s performed.

Oniel Fisher

Frankly, I missed that D.C. United gave up on Fisher. Twim brings up that Fish is available (always read comments), and he fits the mold of what Seattle needs right now. Oniel missed 2019 with an injury and was infrequent during 2020.

Good at running the flank, but without the passing to make significant threats, Fisher would be a solid swing-back playing on both sides in MLS and filling a depth role, rather than one to challenge Alex, but Seattle probably needs players at both levels right now.

These aren’t the only options, and it is unlikely that Seattle will look at them. They have probably banked a handful of similar talents — known players who can succeed in roles of need (RB, RW); still youngish (this group is 22-23); and have a relationship with the org;

Other routes that Sounders/Defiance could take in order fill the needs of the org are via players on squads that taking a hiatus or dropping down a level. It is how they added Carlos Anguiano from Portland.

With North Carolina FC dropping down (DJ Taylor is their RB), the New York Cosmos disappearing back into a clothing brand, Reno 1868 and St. Louis FC folding, and three MLS2 sides taking a year away (Portland, Philly, Orlando) there is free talent out there.

It’s time for Garth and Co. to get creative and make some of them offers to show up at training camp, whenever training camp happens.

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