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January 13, 2011 at 4:28 PM

Sounders FC front office reacts to the 2011 MLS SuperDraft

superdraft small.jpgThese quotes from coach Sigi Schmid, technical director Chris Henderson and owner/general manager Adrian Hanauer were provided by the team. If I notice anything missing from the transcript, I’ll add it later:

* * *

(Q: On thoughts on the draft…)

Schmid: “The order of some of the early picks was maybe a little surprising but in general the majority of guys that got picked early were guys that we expected to get picked early. In our particular case, we had [Michael] Tetteh probably going in the top 13 or 14 so when he dropped to 20 we were very, very pleased. I think early on, yes it went that way. Once you get beyond those ten, it’s all in the eyes of the beholder. Beauty and what they see is different than what we see and what we see is different than what they see. So from there it’s just flipping a coin.”

(Q: On selecting Michael Tetteh…)

Schmid: “It was definitely a nice surprise.”

Hanauer: “Backing up a little bit, we had a select few players that we thought would go in the very, very early stages – the top five, six. When we realized we weren’t going to get up to five or six, we just felt strategically our best move was to trade down, get some allocation money and then a number of players that we wanted would still be available. Again, you never know until they come into preseason and they start playing with the ball. But the fact that the five kids that we drafted were all in our top 25 of our list, of who we wanted is we have been using the word shocking. We feel like we have done exceptionally well. We had kids ranging from, we thought Tetteh, Sigi said 13, maybe as high as eight, nine, ten again up to 23, 24. The fact that we picked 20, 21, 27, 29 and 47 and end up with these five kids is very exciting for us.”

(Q: On the trade and allocation money…)

Hanauer: “We had discussed a move like this and we certainly were talking to various teams about, quite frankly, trading up or trading down over the past couple of days. Nothing came together until the draft had already started or just started and then we were able to do that deal. The allocation money it creates flexibility. We were flat tapped out of allocation money so the fact that we now have a little bit of a cushion either helps us with the current roster, it maybe helps us bring a player in. It always creates flexibility. The reality is that there are going to be a lot of players coming into preseason. Some of them aren’t going to make the team. That’s just the reality of the numbers and once that all happens then you fold in allocation money and maybe that allows you to strengthen your squad even further.”

(Q: On the five players selected…)

Henderson: “[Michael] Tetteh is a guy who can play left back, can play left midfield, has good technique. He can get up and down the line. He has confidence coming out of the left. He had a good weekend […]. I’d say [Juan Leone] Cruz is a center back, possibly can play outside back. Good in the air, good athlete, timing tackles well. He also had a really good combine. [Servando] Carrasco is a competitor in midfield. A lot of similarities to [Osvaldo] Alonso and with the amount of games we had last year and we will probably have this year he can get a chance in there at the holding midfield spot. A real competitor and a guy that can play in the middle. [Bryan] Meredith is a guy we scouted at Monmouth. He has the ability to make some big saves. He has very good feet. I think his range of distribution is really good. [Alex] Caskey is a guy who had a really good weekend. He can play in the middle of midfield. He sees the field well, good passer.”

(Q: On Michael Tetteh potentially starting…)

Schmid: “First off, any new player is probably going to provide more depth than step in and start because we have an established team. It’s a little bit different from year one. He is somebody who, as Chris said earlier, can play left back, can play left midfield. If he plays left back he is a very attacking left back which is something good to see. He is somebody who can turn the corner if he is playing left midfield. […] He’s got good quickness. He’s got good athleticism. He’s another guy who’s a very, very good competitor so I think he’s going to battle on that side of the field. He is going to give us options on that side of the field as well.”

(Q: On international players on Seattle’s roster…)

Hanauer: “Well, depends who you consider on the roster. The four players that are returning or are signed on the team for this next year are [Erik] Friberg coming in, [Alvaro] Fernandez, [Leo] Gonzalez and Miguel Montano. Then clearly Danny Earls is in the hunt, Julien Baudet. [Confirmed Tetteh would also be an international].”

(Q: On if selections fill needs…)

Schmid: “It’s never perfect until you have them out there in training and you see how they do. Some guys adjust very quickly. Some guys adapt and some guys move on. But in terms of addressing our needs we wanted to give ourselves a little more cover wide and I think we did that with Tetteh. We wanted to pick up a quality goalkeeper because we felt this year’s group was better for sure than last years and we were able to do that. We wanted to get some more depth in the middle of midfield because we lost [Nathan] Sturgis and [Peter] Vagenas. Even though Friberg was coming we felt we were a little bit thin there so we did that with Carrasco, we did that with Caskey as well. And then with Cruz we gave ourselves somebody who can play outside back as well as play in the middle and what he brings really is he is a defender, we have got some pretty good defenders back there, but he is a defender who is also very good with the ball and he is a very good passer of the ball. We felt that addressed something for us as well. We were able to solidify ourselves on the planks a little bit and in the middle of midfield, which was one of the goals we had.”

(Q: On attempting to move up in draft…)

Hanauer: “We did attempt to move up. We didn’t have a whole lot to trade to move up because we didn’t have any allocation money. The players that people wanted we didn’t want to move. So that sort of ended that story. […] We would have taken any of those top five or six that might have flipped.”

(Q: On group going into preseason training…)

Henderson: “We are actually very excited about that and there’s some trialists coming in so I think the more competition we have for spots is good for our roster. It’s good for our guys to come in with the attitude in preseason that they have to start out well in the very beginning. […] I think having a competitive environment every single day and have everyone competing for spots is going to make our group better and that’s the kind of environment we want to create.”

(Q: On roster size…)

Hanauer: “It’s 28. The way it goes there’s 20 senior roster players, four what we call below-the-line, minimum salary guys, the four below that are sort of this new category of apprentice players and then numbers 29 and 30 can be homegrown players.” (Hanauer later corrected himself on this comment. If I understand his clarification, there are 20 senior spots, 4 below-the-line spots — minimum-salary players that don’t count against the salary budget — and 6 more apprentice players of which can be homegrown)

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