Author: Simon Borg | Cover illustration by Duane Tomaszewski
Now that their agonizing, 8-year quest for an MLS Cup is finally out of the way, 2017 shapes up to be a fun year for the defending MLS champs. With the bulk of their squad intact and the prospect of adding USMNT star Clint Dempsey, who’s making a comeback after missing the last part of 2016 due to a heart condition, Seattle will be looking to show that last year’s second-half surge to the title was no fluke.
Key Offseason Transactions
|KEY PLAYERS IN:||KEY PLAYERS OUT:|
|Will Bruin (F)|
Harry Shipp (M)
Gustav Svensson (D/M) All transactions
|Erik Friberg (M)|
Andreas Ivanschitz (M)
Tyrone Mears (D)
Nelson Valdez (F)
Player to watch: Nicolas Lodeiro
The Uruguayan int’l playmaker transformed the Sounders in 2016 when he arrived in midseason and he was the veritable league MVP from August to October. Will teams figure out how to stop him in 2017? If last year is any evidence, probably not.
How they'll play
HEAD COACH - BRIAN SCHMETZER
The Sounders can hit you on the counter and they can also lay siege to opponents with suffocating possession and strong fullback play. It’s what makes them so formidable at home and away.
Project Starting XI
4-2-3-1, right to left: Stefan Frei (GK) — Oniel Fisher (D), Roman Torres (D), Chad Marshall (D), Joevin Jones (D) — Cristian Roldan (M), Osvaldo Alonso (M) — Jordan Morris (F), Clint Dempsey (F), Nicolas Lodeiro (M) – Will Bruin (F)
1st in Western Conference. A full season of Nicolas Lodeiro and potentially Clint Dempsey — they only played four matches together last year, combining for 6 goals and 5 assists — alongside a confident and comfortable Jordan Morris means the Sounders could have MLS's most star-studded attacking unit in 2017. If the rest of the team’s spine can stay healthy, especially captain Osvaldo Alonso, the Sounders will be the team to beat in MLS.