Can they finally make it over the hump?
Coming off their third season in the MLS, where the Seattle Sounders failed to make it out of the first round of the playoffs. Again. This will definitely be what coach Sigi Schmid has the team geared toward this season. A MLS Cup to go with their three US Open Cups!
As mentioned above, the Sounders did manage to win their third US Open Cup in a row last year, and qualified for the knockout stage of the CONCACAF Champions League for the first time in their existence.
With that said, the road t0 the MLS cup will be a hard one this year, especially if the Sounders continue to advance in the CCL. Every stage win means more games played to go along with their already scheduled matches in MLS. Which also means tired legs.
Does this years squad have what it takes to win the CCL, MLS Cup, and US Open Cup?
Sigi Schmid added some new faces to the squad, hoping to take some of the pressure off of the starting eleven during the grueling first part of the season, which includes the CCL matches.
Among the new faces are, former USNT member Eddie Johnson, and new goal keeper Michael Gspurning. Gspurning has the task of replacing all-world goalkeeper Kasey Keller, a task that will not be easy for the Austrian national.
Another new face that has already made waves among the Sounders fans is Swedish defenseman Adam Johannson. Johannson has a knack for moving up into the offensive zone and contributing wide, allowing the mids to venture into the box for added pressure on crosses.
A couple notable faces will no longer be in the rave green in Seattle, Kasey Keller was lost to retirement, but he can still be seen and heard in the broadcast booth for the Sounders this upcoming season.
Among the others no longer on the roster, fan favorites Mike Fucito, and Lamar Neagle were sent to expansion Montreal Impact in exchange for Eddie Johnson.
As mentioned above, newcomer Michael Gspurning will have the dubious task of replacing the legendary Kasey Keller. Since the Sounders also lost veteran GK Terry Boss to retirement as well, Bryan Meredith is another newcomer, brought in to back up Gspurning.
The Sounders midfield should look as solid as it did last season. Osvaldo Alonso, the best defensive mid in all of the MLS is returning to anchor the team.
The forward position is another one that the Sounders will have depth at. Fredy Montero will be able to be a lot more creative this season as he will not be the lone go to guy for the Sounders for scoring.
Hopefully this season will bring the return of Steve Zakuani, and O’Brian White to the team. Emerging forward David Estrada already has brought some energy to the lineup, and this is without Eddie Johnson seeing the starting eleven yet.
The addition of Adam Johannson is by far the most exciting part of the Sounders defense this year. His ability to move forward will open up the offense and should help to contribute more goals this season.
All in all, this years Sounders squad looks to be a better team than Sigi Schmid has fielded in his first three years in Seattle. With the additional games they will be playing this season, a strong bench will be very important. And I thing Sigi has brought in a lot of talent that will take pressure off of the starters.