Thursday, March 15, 2012

2012 Seattle Sounders FC season preview

By Money Mike

OK, now that the CONCACAF Champions League is out of the way (even though it was disappointing), I think it's time that we start previewing the 2012 MLS season. Now the Seattle Sounders, I gotta tell you, they've made so many big moves this offseason. Probably more than the last two seasons combined and just about all of them were very good moves, but there was one surprise move as well. Last season, this team got off to a slow start, but then June came around and they started to click into gear. At one point, they picked up 9 points in 8 days and just took off from there in all competitions including the U.S. Open Cup and the Champions League. Last few games however, they looked pretty weak defensively and that proved to a factor as they were eliminated in the MLS Cup quarterfinal again.

The focus during the offseason was looking for a couple of outside backs and also a new goalkeeper because of the fact that Kasey Keller played his final season in 2011. In the end, they acquired Austrian goalkeeper Michael Gspurning, Swedish right back Adam Johansson and former D.C. United left back Marc Burch. They also drafted Creighton University defender Andrew Duran in the first round of the MLS SuperDraft. So now that they officially have everything put into place, you have to say that this is one of the teams to beat in Major League Soccer. We already know the Sounders can score goals because they led the league in that category, it's just a question if their backline is a lot better than last year. And there's no doubt it is. Yes, they're gonna have a couple of bad games this season, like last night against Santos, but right now, this is the only Seattle team that goes out there and wins big games and I can tell you, they're tired of only winning the U.S. Open Cup. Right now, they're aiming to win the MLS Cup.

Sounders 2012 roster:

1. GK - Michael Gspurning
3. MF - Brad Evnas
4. DF - Patrick Ianni
5. DF - Adam Johansson
6. MF - Osvaldo Alonso
7. FW - Eddie Johnson
8. DF - Marc Burch
10. MF - Mauro Rosales (captain)
11. FW - Steve Zakuani
12. DF - Leonardo Gonzalez
13. FW - O'Brian White
14. MF - Michael Tetteh
15. MF - Alvaro Fernandez
16. FW - David Estrada
17. FW - Fredy Montero
19. FW - Babayele Sodade
20. DF - Zach Scott
21. FW - Cordell Cato
22. MF - Mike Seamon
23. MF - Servando Carrasco
24. FW - Roger Levesque
25. MF - Andy Rose
26. FW - Sammy Ochoa
27. MF - Alex Caskey
28. MF - Christian Sivebaek
29. GK - Josh Ford
30. DF - Andrew Duran
31. DF - Jeff Parke
33. GK - Andrew Weber
34. DF - Jhon Kennedy Hurtado
35. GK - Bryan Meredith

Offseason moves:


December 7, 2011 - Michael Gspurning (Skoda Xanthi) - Free transfer
December 12, 2011 - Marc Burch (D.C. United) - Re-entry Draft
December 29, 2011 - Adam Johansson (IFK Goteborg) - Free transfer
January 11, 2012 - Christian Sivebaek (FC Midtjylland) - Undisclosed
January 18, 2012 - Cordell Cato (Defence Force)- Undisclosed
February 17, 2012 - Eddie Johnson (Montreal Impact) - Trade
March 1, 2012 - Andrew Duran (Creighton University) - MLS SuperDraft, 1st rd.
March 1, 2012 - Babayele Sodade (UAB) - MLS SuperDraft, 2nd rd.
March 2, 2012 - Andrew Weber (San Jose Earthquakes) - Out of contract
March 13, 2012 - Alex Caskey (Charleston Battery) - Free transfer
March 13, 2012 - Andy Rose (UCLA) - MLS Supplemental Draft, 1st rd.*

*Contract rights acquired from Real Salt Lake for Leone Cruz.


November 2, 2011 - Kasey Keller - retired
November 23, 2011 - James Riley (Montreal Impact) - Expansion Draft*
November 23, 2011 - Tyson Wahl (Montreal Impact) - Trade
December 2, 2011 - Terry Boss - retired
December 2, 2011 - Taylor Graham - retired
December 7, 2011 - Miguel Montano (Montreal Impact) - Out of contract
December 12, 2011 - Erik Friberg (Malmo FF) - Undisclosed
December 12, 2011 - Nate Jaqua (New England Revolution) - Re-entry Draft
December 12, 2011 - Pat Noonan (Los Angeles Galaxy) - Re-entry Draft
February 17, 2012 - Mike Fucito (Montreal Impact) - Trade
February 17, 2012 - Lamar Neagle (Montreal Impact) - Trade
March 14, 2012 - Amadou Sanyang (Charleston Battery) - Undisclosed

* Immediately traded from Montreal to Chivas USA for Justin Braun and Gerson Mayen.

Keys to the season:

My keys for this season, starting with the Toronto match on Saturday, leave the Champions League loss behind and continue to play your game. I can't blame any of this on the coach, we had to push forward, we had to come at them, but Santos was able to find our weakness and they are able to take advantage of it. Look, Santos is a very good team, they're unbeaten at home this season, they've completely dominated the Champions League as well. One bad loss does not mean that we have a bad team, and yet we have a bunch of ignorant fans that are stupid enough to push the panic button before the start of our MLS campaign. Play your game, and your game only.

Another key, defensively the backline needs to tighten up. Last season, the opposition found some openings and almost 90% of the time, they took advantage of it. Hurtado has looked a little sluggish, but remember last season he returned from a season ending ACL injury he suffered in 2010. As for Leo Gonzalez, this guy has disappeared. His one on one defending has been absolutely pathetic. He better step it up, otherwise bench him and start Marc Burch. As a matter of fact, I think that would be the best option because I think Burch is a better one on one defender than Gonzalez. Bottomline is, if you want to get past the first round of the playoffs, don't give your opponents any good looks at goal. If they can do a better job, which I think they will, than we'll make it out of the first round for sure and perhaps make it to the MLS Cup final. No reason not to believe we can't do it this year.

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