TUKWILA, Wash — The Seattle Sounders are hoping to shore up one of their weakest positions: Target striker. Burly strikers Cillian Sheridan and Sammy Ochoa (pictured above) have both donned Sounders green as the club looks at a series of trialists up front.
Sheridan, a 6-foot-5 Irishman who has played for Glasgow Celtic and Bulgarian club CSKA Sofia, trialed for less than a week, playing in two reserve matches.
Ochoa, who joined the Sounders in time to play in Monday’s reserve match, trained with the club on Tuesday. Another big striker, the 24-year-old grew up in Southern California, where he caught the eye of Sigi Schmid, who coached the LA Galaxy from 1999-2004. Ochoa most recently played with Mexican team Estudiantes Tecos but is currently out of contract.
Both players have impressed, with each scoring a goal in a reserve match.
Despite battling jetlag, Sheridan scored the first goal against the Vancouver Whitecaps reserves last Thursday night. Ochoa followed suit, notching the only goal in Monday’s 1-0 victory over the Galaxy reserves.
“Obviously, we continue to look,” Schmid said. “Cillian was an option for us as a big forward who was brought to our attention, so we figured it was a good chance to look at him. He’s got a good pedigree and has played for some good teams.”
Hanauer confirmed on Tuesday that Ochoa and Sheridan won’t be the only players to come through Seattle in the coming weeks.
“It’ll be a continual stream of trialists,” Hanauer said. “We want to be a team who brings in trialists on a regular basis. I’ll take my lead from the coaches more than what I see, but they’ve certainly had some impact in the reserve games.”
With Blaise Nkufo having departed in the preseason and O’Brian White still recovering from a blood clot in his leg, the Sounders are left dangerously thin up front. Although he has the size, Nate Jaqua (0 goals, 1 assist) has struggled to be a consistent force as he recovers from offseason surgery.
Schmid opted for a small-and-smaller striker combination of Fredy Montero and Mike Fucito to start the match against Vancouver, and said after the match that the duo performed well.
According to Hanauer, it won’t only be big bodies coming into camp. Speedy midfielder/forward Myron Samuel, for example, is still trialing with the club after arriving last week.
Andrew Winner covers the Seattle Sounders for MLSsoccer.com. Follow him on Twitter @AndrewWinnerMLS