Sigi Schmid has said he is happy with the talent in Seattle camp, but that doesn’t mean the Sounders aren’t looking around. The search for a second forward continues even with Seattle preparing to open the season March 7 vs. Santos Laguna in the CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinals.
With the question mark surrounding O’Brian White’s health looming ever larger with each week, Schmid is taking a pragmatic approach to adding another body.
“Obviously if a good forward falls into our laps or we find out about that, we’d certainly pursue it or we’d certainly take a look at it,” Schmid told reporters in a media conference call from Florida on Wednesday. “O’Brian White is still unavailable to us, so we have to look at the people that are here.”
Of the players on the roster, Mike Fucito certainly seems to have the strongest grip on the position, having started each of the team’s three preseason matches alongside Fredy Montero. However Sammy Ochoa, David Estrada and even Christian Sivebaek have been mentioned by Schmid as possible partners to Montero at the top of Seattle’s projected 4-4-2 lineup.
Schmid’s tactical setup requires a second forward who can stretch the defense and alleviate the pressure on Montero. That said, his endorsement of Fucito in that role seemed less than ringing Wednesday.
“I think there’s times where Mike has done that,” Schmid said. “I think we have enough talent that is here. It’s just a matter of seeing who’s playing well and who’s on top of their game.”
Before leaving for Florida, Schmid mentioned that adding new players at this point in the preseason can depend greatly on which agents call and which players become available. A unique situation 12 months ago brought Mauro Rosales to the Sounders — the playmaker was declared injured by a Mexican team which had brought in more players than it had room for, freeing him up to find other employment.
While the Rosales situation is the exception rather than the rule, something similar could bring a forward to Seattle, and Schmid’s statements seem to indicate that the Sounders have already put the word out on a new striker.
It’s worth mentioning that any personnel additions may also be accompanied by a subtraction. Schmid often cautions that in a salary cap league like MLS, teams often have to clear space by moving players before making acquisitions.
Sounders scouting Santos
The opening date against Santos Laguna is still three weeks away, but that doesn’t mean the Sounders aren’t scouting their opponents. As guests of Brad Evans’ family in Arizona, the team watched together on TV as Santos faced Pumas UNAM on Feb. 4. Schmid also reported that the team has also discussed a few specific Santos players as the first leg of the series approaches.
Schmid was happy with the performance of the newcomers during Wednesday’s training game against the Columbus Crew in Bradenton, Fla. Right back Adam Johansson worked a play on the sideline with Rosales, picking up an assist on an aerial cross to Montero. Sivebaek and Cordell Cato, as well, impressed in the later minutes.
“Sivebaek really made that goal for Cordell with a good move, a little scoop pass and Cordell got in there,” Schmid said. “I think the fans will see that those guys give us a dimension, obviously with their pace and their speed and their athleticism from that standpoint and that's going to be a nice addition to our squad."