SEATTLE — One of the most exciting parts about Seattle Sounders rookie DeAndre Yedlin’s game is his ability to get up and down the sideline.
The 20-year-old’s raw speed allows him to join the attack without fear of being too far out of position. And although he often finds himself in dangerous positions, what he does when he’s there has not always been as polished as he or his coaches would like.
Still, his assist in Friday’s 2-0 win over Real Salt Lake was a sign of just how brightly he can shine.
“It’s very important because we’ve been talking about finishing off plays for him,” Sounders head coach Sigi Schmid told reporters after the victory. “He’s got to be able to finish off plays. The assist he did well with his touch because he took himself into the box. He commits defenders and when you commit defenders you have to make the right choice and we’ve been working with him on that.
“He made a great choice and found Lamar [Neagle] coming in late, so that was very, very good.”
As much as the pass itself – a low ball to the penalty spot – the run was what really stood out. After starting the sequence deep in his own end, Yedlin trailed the play as the ball went from Osvaldo Alonso to Obafemi Martins in the middle of the park. Yedlin finally got the ball just in front of the midfield stripe with tons of space in front of him. He carried it deep into the offensive end before rounding the corner and taking the ball into the penalty area.
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That final foray into the box was something that has sometimes been lacking earlier in the year.
“That's something I've been working on, being more patient and relaxing a little bit when I'm in a crossing situation,” Yedlin said. “That continues to be one of my problems, I get a little tense. That's something for me to work on and improve on a little bit.”
One other area that apparently still needs some work is his celebrations. Yedlin and Neagle – the two Seattle-area natives are good friends off the field – had prepared a routine in which the two would sit on the endboards and pretend they were fishing. While Neagle smoothly executed the move, Yedlin “fell in the water,” making for a somewhat awkward moment.
“He’s just a kid, so I’ll have to take him on a fishing trip or something like that,” Neagle joked. “I didn’t even remember to do it, but he pointed to it, and so I just went.”