Where's the defense?

In 2008 the Sounders were in the USL and were unquestionably a very average team. Their record of 10 wins, 10 losses and 10 ties is pretty damning proof. Their strength was on offense, specifically with Sebastian Le Toux. However, as a team they were in the bottom half of almost every category defensively. And their defensive performance would have been much worse had it not been for Chris Eylander, who deservedly earned his spot on the Sounders FC. The local keeper turned in a season that was nothing short of heroic - 119 saves, the runaway league leader. But to still allow so many goals (36 in 30 games) means that the back line had some serious issues in USL.

Which makes it all the more strange that they are seemingly being counted on to play a major part on the Sounders FC in the much more difficult MLS.

That might be overstating things, but the defense is a huge question right now, and the USL Sounders should not be the answer. Taylor Graham, Danny Jackson and Zack Scott are the three former Sounders who are all getting consideration, with Graham having actually signed a contract. Graham was the most solid of the bunch in USL, but he's had two equally unsuccessful stints in MLS. (In fact, his name is a joke among fans of one of his former teams.) Jackson has played a grand total of 1 game in MLS and is on the downside of his career. And while I like Scott, he was noticably inconsistant even in USL. To think he can adequately make the jump up a league is a bit of an enormous stretch.

Although there are of course other defenders in camp, they only improve the picture marginally. James Riley is the only sure-fire starter of the bunch. Tyson Wahl has started in MLS at Kansas City, but only for 1 year and that was only after regular starter Nick Garcia left. Aside from that, there's Patrick Ianni, a 3rd to 4th string player with the Dynamo, and Nate Sturgis, who's been so hurt that he's missed 70% of the last two seasons. And then there are the college draft picks, but if you're counting on a second and/or third round draft pick to contribute, you're in trouble.


That's probably our back four as of right now. That's not a good defense. That's downright Galaxyesque. I might as well write


At least one more major signing is necessary for this team to be anything close to decent. A center back would be fantastic, or even an outside back to let Wahl play in the middle, his more natural position. And it lets somebody, Sturgis probably, come off of the bench and give us more quality depth. Everything looks a whole lot rosier if we get one more defensive signing. Let's make it happen.


soundersfan said...

most of the defense was injured last season so those stats are a poor reflection of the team, but I do agree, the defense is lacking,

Ness said...

I'm always open to criticism and correction, but I don't really see how that's a poor reflection of the team. Scott, Graham and Jackson were 4th, 6th and 7th respectively in terms of most minutes played on the USL Sounders. Of a combined 90 games, they collectively missed 14. They were on the field a lot - those are normal rates of playing time. I love those guys, but even if they were playing hurt last year, I don't see how they have the talent to contribute in MLS.

Anonymous said...

Is there still no word on Parke? He'd still be an automatic starter if he did sign.

Ness said...


It looks like he's trying European options first. We do have his rights for two years, so it's not out of the question that he signs here this year, but we won't have him at the start of the season for sure.

Anonymous said...

Wahl and Ianni at center back. Wahl on the left. rest is up in the air. Parke probably a goner.