Coming into the 2011 MLS SuperDraft, Seattle entertained the possibility of moving up in the draft. However, when it became apparent that the Sounders would not make it into the top five or six spots, the club did the most sensible thing.
“We had a select few players that we thought would go in the very, very early stages, the top five picks,” club GM Adrian Hanauer said. “When we realized that we weren’t going to get up to five or six, we felt strategically our best move would to trade down and get some allocation money.”
In a draft-day trade with the Portland Timbers, Seattle swapped picks with their neighbors to the South, dropping from No. 11 to No. 20 in the draft in exchange for allocation cash. Portland also acquired an international roster spot for the 2011 season in the trade.
Making the decision easier was Seattle’s belief that, after the first tier of picks, the players Sigi Schmid wanted would still be available later in the draft.
As it happens, the Sounders were thrilled to see UC Santa Barbara junior Michael Tetteh available at No. 20, Seattle’s first selection in the draft. Hailing from Odumasi, Ghana, Tetteh plays primarily on the left and can play at left back or midfield.
In a conference call with reporters, an eager-sounding Tetteh (pronounced “TETT-tay”) mentioned Chelsea's Ashley Cole as a player he tries to emulate on the field.
WATCH: Michael Tetteh highlights
The Ghanaian, who turns 23 on Sunday, said one of his primary motivations for leaving UCSB early was to help support his family, which includes his parents, two brothers and two sisters. After Tetteh’s family moved to the capital Accra early in his life, he earned a place in the Right to Dream Academy where he was eventually spotted by a traveling UCSB scout.
After attending high school in the United States, Tetteh played three years for UCSB, totaling six goals and eight assists.
In an indication of how inexact scouting can be, the Sounders selected three players who didn’t appear on many draft boards with their next three choices: No. 21 Juan Leone Cruz (D, Southern Methodist), No. 27 Servando Carrasco (M, California), and No. 29 Bryan Meredith (GK, Monmouth).
Cruz, who introduces himself as Leone Cruz, adds more depth to the defensive line and as a central defender models himself after Rafa Márquez.
Carrasco is projected as a defensive midfielder who can cover for Osvaldo Alonso, Seattle’s team-voted MVP last season. The depth is useful—when Alonso was injured in 2010, Seattle’s play on the field took a noticeable downturn.
As for Meredith, Seattle will be looking for a third goalkeeper to compete with Terry Boss for the backup role.
With its final pick, Seattle selected Davidson midfielder Alex Caskey with the 47th overall selection. Technical director Chris Henderson said he believes Caskey had a good combine and is a good passer.
Hanauer was pleased with the day, saying each draftee was in Seattle’s top 25.