Saturday, August 28, 2010

Three Questions with Dave Clark of Sounder at Heart

To get a read on the Seattle Sounders, I exchanged three questions with Dave Clark of Sounder at Heart.  My questions are in bold and his answers are in regular font.
1.  Fire fans love new arrival Freddie Ljungberg. He has taken over as a captain on offense and the results have been very positive. Why did Seattle trade him at such a low cost?
He wasn't going to be playing anymore. There was a fissure between he, the coaching staff, and some players. How or why this developed will likely never be known, but he'd stopped playing for Seattle while he started to explore other options. Considering that no team in Europe offered any transfer fee (if they had Seattle would have taken it, as they need to buy down some DP salary cap hits) the fact that Freddie was dealt for only a conditional pick in one of the next two drafts shows that the market for the Swede was quite low.

Seattle likely wanted allocation dollars more than anything, but a former MLS Best XI player didn't net that in a fairly active transfer window. His value as a player has taken a hit, and with his contract up in just a few months it was even lower. I'm almost certain that he hates the league, and I don't expect him to be in Chicago next year.

2.  The Sounders, like the Fire, have 2 DPs. Has there been talk of signing a third DP?  Given realistic boundaries (availability, cost, chemistry, etc), who would you want them to sign?
The best use of that 3rd DP slot would be for Seattle to retain the services of Fredy Montero. His contract is also up shortly, and losing him on a Free would be painful. By signing him as the 3rd DP this off season Seattle would be retaining the uses of a very young highly prolific goal scorer. He's a symbol of what the team is at this point, and can actually be used in marketing as two year starter who can dominate the league for long stretches.

It would also continue the movement that Seattle is making towards bringing in young international talent in their pre-peak period. Alvaro Fernandez, Fredy Montero, Osvaldo Alonso, and Steve Zakuani are the start of this, but you can even look at the likely Centerback pairing next season of Patrick Ianni and Jhon Kennedy Hurtado who will also be outside of that peak period of 26-30. Since MLS isn't a top 10 league in the world, a team can be built around players that are climbing the ladder trying to improve their skills. Seattle is certain to continue in this direction.

3.  The Fire played a Wednesday/Saturday combo last week and seemed to suffer in their Saturday game because of it. How do you think the Sounders will play having played this Wednesday?  

Seattle has gotten a bit used to the Double in its breif history. Last year's US Open Cup winning run, plus this year's run to the Semi-Final and their activity in both the Prelims and Group Stage of the CONCACAF Champions League have meant that they have had more than a dozen competitive Doubles in less than two years. The Sounders are a deep team, and Sigi tends to rotate players into and out of the lineup with fair frequency due to injury, or just match up concerns.

This is most true at the second center mid (where Sturgis starts now, but has been played by Evans, Vagenas, Ianni, Seamon) and at the right midfield where I feel like nearly every player seems to play at some point. The Rave Green are also home for this stretch which should help a bit. We actually don't expect many starting lineup changes (just Zach Scott for Leo Gonzalez due to Red Card suspension), but I would expect to see earlier than typical substitutions, including maybe one at halftime again.

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