Speed and the international game

Seattle MLS has huge ambitions, including becoming well known and successful both domestically and internationally. And with the CONCACAF Champions League in full swing, that got me thinking about how we can accomplish some of those goals.

And so here’s something that I’m just beginning to realize about MLS. We are not a fast league. We have a distinct lack of players with great pace. It has only just become apparent to me from watching some of these international games, where Chivas, New England and others are simply being outrun. Just this evening, Maraton of Honduras clearly outplayed DC primarily because of their speed, and this just shouldn’t be happening. I’m beginning to think this is why random little speedsters can come into MLS and be major players for their clubs. Take just this year, for example – Danleigh Borman* of New York was a supplemental draft pick, and Boise (er, Boyzee) Khumalo came up to DC from a USL2 club. Both of them have been sparkplugs, and Khumalo’s been the best player on the pitch for DC in the CONCACAF games I’ve seen them play.

Anyways, the point is that if Seattle is going to be a competitive club in international play**, we’ll have to be able to deal with speedy little guys better than these other teams have. I don’t want to see the Sounders lose 4-0 to Joe Public FC. Ever. And I don’t think Mr. Hanauer, Mr. Roth or Mr. Carey would, either. Having a few burners, as well as outside defenders capable of dealing with pacey players, is something I think’ll be necessary to prevent that.

*Speaking of which, he should be available in the expansion draft. He’d be a great guy to bring off the bench in the 75th minute…

**Speaking of which, I'm digging the idea of the Sounders entered the Pan-Pacific Championship. It’s meaningless, but if we entered next year I think it’d be a great way for Seattle to get media attention right away, as well as a first test against international competition and a chance for the new team to gel prior to the MLS season starting. I mentioned this to Adrian Hanauer, who replied "...Pan Pacific is out of our hands. This is a tournament run by Soccer United Marketing. Actually, it is not yet clear which teams will be participating in the next tournament." So while the Sounders can't actively pursue a spot, they could still be invited. We'll have to wait and see.

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