Welcome to the Wednesday Q&A series, where we focus on one particular topic – today's being the Seattle rebuild – and ask you to react, share, and discuss in the comments section. However, feel free to ask about anything game-related (MLS, USL, NASL, USMNT, CanMNT, etc.) over the next several hours.
On Tuesday, the Seattle Sounders parted ways with Sigi Schmid. Just over 24 hours later, the biggest step in ushering in a new, on-field era was taken as they officially unveiled Uruguayan DP Nicolas Lodeiro as the team's latest big signing, presumptive creative engine and -- hopefully for Seattle fans, and crucially for Seattle's front office -- the man who can turn some of the possession the Sounders generate into high-quality chances.
If you want one sequence that sums up Seattle's problems this season, here it is:
In soccer the run makes the pass, and not vice versa. Nelson Valdez doesn't anticipate Clint Dempsey's one-touch flick -- he's just standing there, stock still, not making a run -- and thus there is nothing to come of said flick but yet another midfield turnover.
Dempsey's taken his fair share of flack this season, and his body language has not been what you'd want from a team leader. But I can't imagine going from the symbiotic, "We Share One Soccer Brain" type of partnership he had with Obafemi Martins to trying to make it work with Valdez and rookie Jordan Morris, who are two vastly different players both from each other and from Oba.
Oba makes that run 10 times out of 10, and those other guys don't. Removing Oba from the equation has removed the Dempsey/Martins combo from the equation, and that was the creative focal point of this team for the last three seasons.
Then the ball falls to the feet of midfielder Erik Friberg. He's a solid box-to-box player, a No. 8 who excels at keeping the ball moving and picking tidy passes that shift the field of play from one side to the other, allowing the Sounders to keep possession.
What he isn't, really, is a playmaker (5 assists in nearly 4000 MLS minutes). He doesn't see the type of incisive, defense-splitting passes that the league's best No. 10s hit. And in this particular instance, he doesn't see the run Cristian Roldan is making:
That's not an easy pass to hit. But at the same time, it's a pass that must be hit, for three reasons:
- Best-case scenario is that it leads to a breakaway and a chance on goal
- At worst, it forces the LA defense to scramble and either play backwards to the 'keeper, or just clear the ball upfield/into touch
- If it's not hit, you're risking a center-of-the-park turnover with one of your midfielders well out of position, and inviting a quick counter into/through the space he just vacated
Roldan's run should've made this pass. It didn't.
With Lodeiro in, the hope will be that fewer of these passes go unseen. The dude can ball a little bit:
So the new era is starting now for Seattle. There will surely be more moves to come -- including at least one more this week. But the biggest piece of the puzzle has, I think, been added.
Ok folks, thanks for chatting with me today. Enjoy the All-Star game!