SEATTLE – Holding the 15th and the 34th picks in Thursday's MLS SuperDraft, the Seattle Sounders know it might be difficult to land a surefire contributor. Even though head coach Sigi Schmid feels this draft as a whole is deeper than last year’s, the number of top-level prospects remains constant.
After those players are off the board, Seattle plan to pick the best of what’s left, regardless of positional needs.
“We always come into the draft with the same purpose – trying to get the best player we can with the pick,” Schmid told reporters in a teleconference on Tuesday. “You look at needs a little bit, and you try to address your needs a little bit, as well, within that.”
Schmid said there were “10 to 11 players that we really like.” Should any of those players be available for the Sounders’ first selection, Schmid will take them regardless of where they play.
With the club’s two most pressing needs – a new right back and goalkeeper – being filled in the offseason by international acquisitions, finding key cogs has become less of a pressing issue for a Sounders side that has blooded veterans at nearly every spot.
In fact, Seattle’s SuperDraft selections will face a battle for minutes on an already-established roster. Nonetheless, the Sounders expect to land someone who makes his presence known.
“There’s going to be someone there at 15 who we see can contribute,” said technical director Chris Henderson. “I think we have the environment, we have the coaching staff, and the daily environment for players to grow and develop.”
Historically, Seattle have done a good job selecting and nurturing talent through the SuperDraft.
Of the 26 players currently listed on the Sounders roster, seven were drafted by the team in the past three years: Servando Carrasco, David Estrada, Mike Fucito, Bryan Meredith, Mike Seamon, Michael Tetteh and Steve Zakuani.
Every one of those players took the field for a competitive match last season, with an eighth player – Supplemental Draft pick Josh Ford – backing up Kasey Keller several times down the stretch after injuries to the now-retired Terry Boss.
The hope is to land at least one more player who can join that group, especially since the Sounders could end up playing as many as 55 games across all competitions this year.
“I think we see some possibilities there with someone that can help us,” Henderson explained. “Hopefully [he’ll] get minutes, and fight for a spot every day.”