ExtraTime Radio Podcast
LISTEN: Be ready to laugh out loud because Andrew, David and Matt had a blast talking drama (see Manneh, Kekuta) and storylines (Dax's NYC return) ahead of a big MLS weekend. Plus, behind the scenes in ATL with captain Michael Parkhurst and the LA Times' Kevin Baxter on the Galaxy's woes. Subscribe now so you don't miss an episode!
It is time, once again, to dive into this week's submissions for my TwitBag – a now weekly chance for me to answer your questions with more than 140 characters.
Seattle currently have three DPs in forward Clint Dempsey, playmaker Nicolas Lodeiro and d-mid Ozzie Alonso, but the suspicion is that they have enough Targeted Allocation Money kicking around to pay down Alonso's salary and add another DP to the puzzle. If they're going to do that, it would have to be before the current transfer window closes in mid-May, or after the next one opens in mid-July.
If you recall, they made pretty, pretty pretty good work of that July transfer window last year.
As it stands I'm not sure a move is imminent, but I'm sure A) they're looking, and B) there will be a new, DP-caliber addition to the Sounders squad at some point. And Jordan Morris's development is what will determine who the DP is and where on the field he plays.
Morris, at one point in his career, looked much more comfortable as a push-the-line center forward than as a winger. However at this point in his career, he looks much more comfortable and dangerous as a torment-the-right-back winger than he does as a center forward. That's where he lined up last weekend for the Sounders, with Will Bruin as the No. 9, and they just pummeled LA into a pulpy mess.
That, however, is just one data point, and there remains a chance Garth Lagerwey, Brian Schmetzer et al could decide Morris is best, long-term, up top. If that's the case, the new DP will be a goal-scoring winger with pace. If, rather, they decide Morris really is best on the wing, then the new DP will be a target forward and Bruin will return to his super-sub role.
My guess is we'll find out in July.
"SAS" is Saad Abdul-Salaam, who was arguably the best right back in MLS last year. This year he's buried behind Graham Zusi, and Sporting also have Igor Juliao and potential Homegrown Jaylin Lindsey as right back options in the pipeline.
So I'm sure they're listening to offers for Abdul-Salaam, as they should be. And I'm sure they're looking for a speedy, direct, goal-scoring winger in return because the guys they brought in this winter don't really seem to be the answer in terms of getting Dom Dwyer some help.
Given Ethan Finlay's reduced role and the glut of wingers in Columbus... let's just make this trade happen, ok guys?
MLS has gotten better, and the 'Caps have been disorganized. They're struggling to keep their backline and deep midfield connected, which is death (sound up if you want some analysis):
That's not all or even mostly Laba's fault. He's had a rotating cast of central midfield partners, the "3" line in their 4-2-3-1 has been inconsistent in applying pressure, and it's not clear why the backline didn't step instead of giving so much cushion. It's a teamwide, systemic solution that's required, not finger-pointing.
In the short term it's LA, who are loaded with under-performing veterans and mismatched parts. I recommend that all Galaxy fans listen to Thursday's ExtraTime Radio interview with long-time LA journo Kevin Baxter, who has a pretty good feel for the issues coalescing in the locker room and manifesting on the field.
That said, there's not much reason for short-term optimism in Colorado or Philadelphia, either. Injuries, questionable personnel decisions and bad luck have led to miserable starts for both teams, and it's not like there are any easy outs coming up on the schedule.
Rusnak's been a lot of fun in his brief time in MLS thus far, and seems to have acclimated well after a rough first three weeks. He's handling the physical part of the game just fine, his final ball has been reliably good and occasionally better than that, and his first step his quick – he can create real separation when he needs a little bit of space.
That's a type of athleticism we don't talk about enough, and is often more telling than the typical run-jump-size athleticism we think about when we say "that guy's an elite athlete!"
Rusnak is, in other words, a highly skilled player who also happens to be an excellent athlete, which is a good recipe for success. I think he can and will be very good in Sandy for a very long time.
I think it shouldn't happen again. People have been trying to make Rodney Wallace a fullback since he came into the league almost a decade ago, and it hasn't worked. He has been and remains a dangerous winger who opens up space for the rest of the attack, bags the occasional goal, and does yeoman's work initiating the high press.
I understand why Patrick Vieira experimented, but for NYCFC's sake I hope he understands why he shouldn't experiment in that way again. You can talk me into Wallace at wingback in a 3-4-3 or a 3-5-2, but never, ever as a fullback in any type of back four.