Ask every member of the Seattle Sounders FC organization what their goal is in 2013 and you’ll get the same answer. We want the MLS Cup.
Yes, Seattle has set attendance records, captured multiple U.S. Open Cups, advanced far in CONCACAF competition, and finally won a Major Leaugue Soccer playoff series. Now starting season number five, it’s time to grab the brass ring.
Major transactions support how serious ownership and management is about securing the trophy which has eluded the “rave green”. Leading scorer Fredy Montero has been loaned to a Colombian club. While he scored some magnificent goals, Montero could also become invisible during long stretches of games.
Central defender Jeff Parke ask to be traded to Philadelphia. German midfielder Christian Tiffert apparently has some issues with the Sounders and did not train with the club in Arizona.
Seattle signed veteran midfielder Shalrie Joseph, and experienced international defender Djimi Traore. They sent draft picks to Montreal to bring back Federal Way’s Lamar Neagle. Sounders also have a representative in Spain trying to acquire Nigerian striker Obafemi Martins from Levante.
Steve Zakuani has recovered physically and psychologically from a catastrophic leg injury and spoke about the roster changes.
“Management has made personnel changes for the direction they want the team to go in,” Zakuani told me. “We’ll do what we can on the pitch to jel. It always takes time to get going and find your rhythm. Adding Djimi and Shalrie with all that experience, you have guys who can step in an help the team right away.”
Head coach Sigi Schmid saw plenty of positives during Sounders training camp and pre-season matches in Arizona.
“I think the team has come together pretty well as a group,” shared Schmid. “I feel comfortable we’ll be able to put a good group on the field and be successful.
MLS comeback player of 2012 Eddie Johnson will be the focual point of Seattle’s attack. Team captain Mauro Rosales must overcome nagging injuries which have plagued him the past two years, and continue to be the dynamic passer from the wing. David Estrada showed plenty of goal-scoring potential before breaking a foot bone early in the 2012 campaign.
Defensively, Seattle will count on the best holding midfielder in th eleague, Osvaldo Alonzo, and physical presence of Jhon Kennedy Hurtado.
Michael Gspurning had a solid first campaign as Sounders starting keeper. Seattle Pacific University alum Marcus Hahneman decided to stay on as his back-up.
Seattle opens the MLS season at home Saturday night against the Montreal Impact. They head to Monterrey, Mexico for a Wednesday night CONCACAF quarterfinal match against Tigres. Circle March 16th on your Sounders calendar. The arch-rival Portland Timbers come to CenturyLink Field in Seattle for the first of the I-5 derbies.
-Bill Swartz, 1090 The Fan
(TM and © Copyright 2013 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2012 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)