Down to just 12 available outfield players, the Seattle Sounders made four extreme hardship signings on Thursday ahead of the game against Austin FC. Samuel Adeniran, Juan Alvarez, Obed Vargas and Alex Villanueva all join the Sounders from Tacoma Defiance.
Adeniran, Alvarez and Vargas had all been previously signed to short-term contracts, while this is Villanueva’s first stint with the first team. Only Adeniran, easily the oldest and most experienced of the group at 22, has actually played, however. Each player is allowed to appear in two matches before the MLS Collective Bargaining Agreement dictates that they must be signed to a full first-team contract.
Somewhat curiously, none of the players primarily play the positions at which the Sounders are currently most thin, right back and centerback. Villanueva, a left back, is the only player who has primarily lined up as a defender. The 19-year-old has shown himself to be a dynamic presence, but is still more comfortable attacking than defending.
Asked on Wednesday how the decisions are made about which players to call up, Schmetzer said it was done in consultation with Defiance head coach Wade Webber and Director of Player Development Henry Brauner.
“There are multiple conversations,” Schmetzer said. “Positional needs, knowing which players can play multiple games in a week, soccer players that don’t have a lot of experience vs. bigger stronger athletic guys.”