SEATTLE — The long wait is finally over for Mike Seamon.
The 24-year-old entered Wednesday’s game as a 40th minute substitute, earning his first league appearance in more than two years. Seamon hadn’t even played in a competitive match since June 28, 2011, when he started in a US Open Cup game against the Kitsap Pumas. No player on the Seattle Sounders roster had gone longer without playing.
That it came as right back, a position Seamon has only started playing earlier this year in Reserve League games, hardly mattered.
“I just wanted to go in a game,” Seamon said. “I’m happy it happened whenever it happened. It didn’t matter who it was against. I’ve been mentally focusing on my game this whole season and what I can do to make myself better. I believed it was going to work out.”
Despite spending most of his life as an offensive player, Seamon acquitted himself well. His defense was strong enough to help keep Real Salt Lake scoreless despite the Sounders being down a man for all of his 50 minutes on the field. And he looked perfectly comfortable on the rare occasion he ventured forward. Seamon’s only cross in the offensive third actually set up a decent goal-scoring opportunity.
WATCH: Seamon talks about his return vs. RSL
“It was a little different,” Seamon said. “I’ve been playing right back in reserve games and at practice. I haven’t in a real game and then to come in down a man, it’s a lot of shaping and just covering up those gaps. I felt like it came naturally to me, when to slide in and slide out. I thought the defense did a great job.”
Seamon was originally drafted as a midfielder in 2010. Although he joined the Sounders late after finishing up his education at Villanova, he managed to earn himself three league starts and log 314 minutes of playing time. None of the Sounders’ first-year players earned more minutes and it looked like Seamon could be a significant part of the team’s plans moving forward.
A rough start to training camp the following year was compounded by an ankle injury that ultimately ended his 2011 season and prevented him from making a single league appearance. The only action he saw was against Kitsap in the Open Cup.
But about midway through this year’s Reserve League season, the Sounders tried him at right back. In the five starts he made there, he picked up a goal and three assists.
Given his performance against RSL, this could be where Seamon works his way back into the rotation.
“He’ll get some minutes as we move forward,” Sounders head coach Sigi Schmid said. “It’s just a matter of continuing to train well. These last three games (two in league and one in Champions League), guys are going to get the chance to prove what they can do on the field.”
Which is all Seamon could possibly ask.
“Wherever they put me, I’m going to be comfortable,” he said.
Jeremiah Oshan covers the Seattle Sounders for MLSsoccer.com and SB Nation.