Jan 25, 2014, 7:18 PM EDT
Is there any question that Seattle will be one of the super interesting teams to watch this year?
And the “interesting” start now. Not once we get into the busy summer. Or not even as Major League Soccer begins passing and trapping in matches that count in March … but, like, right now!
As the team got into camp today, the Seattle Times reports that Shalrie Joseph was absent and apparently not in the teams’ plans. That’s a bit sad, in a way, as Joseph was such an influential player for so long around MLS. These things do have to end, of course, but Joseph’s tumble from competitive relevancy, starting more than a year ago with his trade out of New England, seemed particularly harsh.
Past that, there are fascinating positional battles to watch as Sigi Schmid puts the pieces together around CenturyLink Field.
Stefan Frei, who as so good before a series of injuries took him out of the picture at Toronto, has a shot at the No. 1 jersey. But he might have to withstand a challenge from Marcus Hahnemann (pictured), 41, who could still perhaps handles the job.
Between Obafemi Martins and Kenny Cooper, someone will be picked to partner up with Clint Dempsey. Or, maybe Schmid decides that Chad Barrett is the best fit. He’s a wildly undependable finisher, but Barrett always puts in the work, and that might be the best way to free up Dempsey to slip into those channels.
It will be interesting to watch the progress of DeAndre Yedlin, who has clearly done well enough in his first look-see under U.S. national team manager Jurgen Klinsmann. The kid will need to keep his head on straight; it’s one thing to excel as the unknown rookie, but something else entirely to get things done when fans and the club expect it.
Alongside, Chad Marshall has long been in the upper echelon of MLS center backs. But he has gone a bit stale over the last couple of years, so it will be interesting to see if the change of scenery can jump-start a revival of the old Chad Marshall. At 29, he’s still got some tread on the tire.
All that, and we also know the Sounders, quite active in the offseason, is still looking to import fresh talent.
As we said, “interesting” … right away.
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