Getting ready for a new Sounders season!
It is spring once again and our MLS West Conference Champions the Seattle Sounders get ready to take the field once again. No more time to sit and think about the loss in the MLS Cup to the Columbus Crew as 2021 promises to see the MLS flagship franchise march towards another deep post season run. With just one week until they kick off against the Loons of Minnesota United, the future looks bright for our best 11!
The names have changed a tiny bit, gone is the hometown hero in Jordan Morris, lost to injury. And also gone also are the highly underrated Kelvin Leerdam and Joevin Jones poached by David Beckham’s Inter Miami squad.
The team who had a +21 goal differential and humiliated LAFC yet again in the playoffs are no slouch. And never your fear though as the Rave Green have plenty of firepower coming back, typically being listed by most pundits as the 2nd or 3rd best team in the MLS.
While LAFC sits alone with the best odds to win an MLS Cup, the Sounders go into their season opener next week as the Western Conference’s MLS Cup favorites, with odds sitting at +500. They are essentially viewed with the same opportunity as the Columbus Crew and their recent rival Toronto FC.
The optimism is warranted as the Sounders return the Swiss super star in Stefan Frei who has been the backstop for the Sounders in all 4 of their MLS appearances. Frei enters his 13th season in the MLS with the last 7 in the Sounders glory years.
The South American core of striker Raul Ruidiaz, Nico Lodeiro, and Jao Paulo return again. Raul has an insane 33 goals in just 53 games making him as feared as any MLS striker. The addition of Paulo last year really strengthened the mid filed and made Seattle’s #10 Nico Lodiero even more effective than usual. Unbelievably, Nico only got his first MLS Best 11 nod this last year with 7 goals and 10 assists in 20 games.
Sounders fans will get some excitement from the past and from the future of the Rave Green. Hero from days gone by Fredy Montero, an original Sounder, has returned. The club all-time leader in scoring looks to help out a team that without Jordan Morris could desperately use a fusion of attack prowess on the wing.
Keep an eye out for the youthful Danny Leyva who debuted at just 16 years old. The 17-year-old will get more play time this season and should see time as youthful shot in the arm during substations.
The key to this season is if the Sounders can jell in the backfield by playing together for a full season. It was evident last year that it took a good 2 months before the defense could find their groove and push the Sounders to the brink of a 3rd MLS Cup.
- Goalkeepers (3): Stefan Cleveland, Stefan Frei, Spencer Richey
- Defenders (7): Xavier Arreaga, Yeimar Gomez Andrade, Jimmy Medranda, Nouhou, Shane O’Neill, Alex Roldan, Brad Smith
- Midfielders (9): Josh Atencio, Jordy Delem, Ethan Dobbelaere, Shandon Hopeau, Joao Paulo, Danny Leyva, Nicolas Lodeiro, Cristian Roldan, Kelyn Rowe
- Forwards (3): Will Bruin, Raul Ruidiaz, Fredy Montero
Photo credit: soccerwire.com
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