Where we stand

With about 20 days until the first Sounders training camp gets underway, there are still huge chunks of the roster to fill out. 10 spots remain unclaimed. Now, five are more or less spoken for, with 4 picks in the college draft and one player (who will in all likelihood be forward Junior Garcia) from the Sounders Super Search.

I’m going to make a couple of safe assumptions. I’ll say that the Sounders keep all their draft picks, and that their first overall pick makes the 20-man senior roster. Because if he didn’t it would be an awful pick. I’ll also say that Garcia, plus the other 3 draftees, make up the 4-man developmental roster, whose salaries do not count against the cap. Which still leaves room for 5 more on the senior roster. Throw Chris Eylander into the mix as the backup keeper, and that’s 4 major spots left to fill.

But how do we need to fill them? Add some attackers, defenders, starters, bench depth? To try and answer that, here’s a look at our best possible lineup with only our current players.

KSmith—Vagenas—Le Toux
(King, JSmith, Eylander, Nyassi)

That’s bad. Honestly, it is. Looking at that, we have 3 players who are clearly above average MLS talents at their positions (Keller, Ljungberg, Parke). Of those, one is injured, one is 38, and one might not sign with Seattle. Two others are around average (Evans, Jaqua). While Nyassi and King could be good sparks off the bench, the majority of the roster aren’t dynamic players, the ones who can control a game. What happens when Ljungberg is out? There’s nobody to carry the team. Jaqua needs service to score, Le Toux won’t transition to the MLS level immediately (if at all) and Khano Smith is less reliable than the Seattle Metro bus system.

Put simply, this is not a playoff contending team. Not even close. And there has to be significant additions to the roster over the next 20 days to get us there.


Anonymous said...

I agree the roster needs some work, but I think there is a bit more talent on the roster right now that you are giving credit for. Specifically, I think Vagenas and Riley could probably be considered league average players at their positions.

If the Sounders sign Parke and one more solid international defender, I think the squad could potentially challenge for a playoff spot. If Parke opts for Europe, the job gets a lot harder IMO.

I'm afraid the team is very likely to struggle mightily at the start of the season, with Ljungberg out, Parke amd Smith suspended, and the typical problems expansion sides have developing into a cohesive unit.

- JP

Ness said...

Oh, of course we'll struggle out of the gate. It isn't impossible, however, to overcome that in the long run of a season, and this roster is not built to do that.

I guess what I'm trying to say is that if this is the core of the team, we're in bad shape. We need maybe 3 significant additions - a central defender, a striker, and either an outside defender or a holding mid.

Riley could be average or better if he plays like he did the second half of last year. I really really like him as a player. Vagenas...nope. He's done. 99% sure of it. When you can't get time over Alvaro "ate all the pies" Pires, you're probably done.

Anonymous said...

We saw very little of Sanna Nyassi in 2008, but that little bit made me a believer in him. I think he will be get a lot of playing time and eventually become a solid starter before too long, perhaps at the expense of Seba.