Let’s start with a link to my story now on the Times site.
Sounders FC, as we learned from watching this past season, was successful because it had quickness, aggressive middle backs and in the defensive midfield (when Osvaldo Alonso was healthy), stellar goalkeeping and very good fitness. The team, I would expect, has to choose players tomorrow that will fit the team’s style of play while being able to provide more offensive punch.
I expect the first pick to be an attacking player to replace what Sebastien Le Toux brought on the midfield wing. Defense was not really this team’s problem in 2009 and in fact, the back four with Kasey Keller was the strength. There has to be an emphasis on finding someone to take pressure on two of the team’s best offensive players – and most fouled – Freddie Ljungberg and Fredy Montero.
Steve Zakuani was that guy at times. Throw another speedster with some size and a scorer’s mentality on the other side, and now opponents have a greater challenge.
Let’s look back on the playoffs. Sounders FC was pushed around up front by Houston’s physical defenders, which was a factor in Seattle not being able to score. But the draft might not be the place to address such needs, as Sounders FC seems to be in the market for a big signing. The draft, then, might be just for the team to build depth, but the first pick, I would think, is someone the club feels can make an immediate impact.
Last year, Zakuani was the clear No. 1 pick. This time, its hard to say who will go at No. 11. Akpan? McInerney? Someone else the club thinks is the best available when its turn comes?