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A busy news day out of Seattle Sounders FC camp

Jan 25, 2014, 7:18 PM EDT

Marcus Hahnemann

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.

(MORE: MLS training camps now is session)

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.

  1. turneresq - Jan 25, 2014 at 9:31 PM

    It was always unlikely that Joseph would be back. He remains the prime candidate for the buyout option.

  2. overtherepermanently - Jan 25, 2014 at 11:03 PM

    Interesting is one word for them, though the derisive comments about Joseph and his departure from Flounder Nation bring other adjectives to mind.

  3. talgrath - Jan 26, 2014 at 12:17 AM

    I think it is more likely that Dempsey is used as an attacking midfielder than a forward, Schmid has too many weapons up front to use Dempsey as a forward. When both Johnson and Martins were healthy Schmid used Dempsey as an attacking midfielder last year, interchanging with the forwards when necessary; that was usually when Dempsey put in his best shifts for the Sounders (and, as a note, he scored his goal for the Sounders by playing from midfield). What’s more, the Sounders site lists him as a midfielder. So the question is who gets posted up top with Martins? That argument has to be between Lamar Neagle who performed so well for the Sounders last season on a tiny contract or Kenny Cooper; a bigger and more veteran name who is looking to rediscover his old spark.

    • Steve Davis - Jan 26, 2014 at 9:02 AM

      I suppose when I say “forward” for Dempsey, I’m talking about a second forward, which is more of a playmaker’s position, where he has freedom to drop into the midfield some, similar to the way he operates for the national team. So, more or less saying the same thing here, I think.

      • talgrath - Jan 26, 2014 at 12:21 PM

        Sort of. When Dempsey was used as a midfielder he usually was put in as top center of the four midfielders, interchanging with the two forwards as needed to draw away defenders and get the best shot possible. It’s almost like playing in a 4-3-3 but with less width on the forwards.

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