With the group stage of the Desert Diamond Cup complete, and start of the regular season less than 10 days away, coaches from all four teams in Tucson provided an update on their younger players’ transition to the professional level. Here's a look from Seattle Sounders head coach Sigi Schmid.
Yedlin – The club’s first ever Homegrown signing after two years of college soccer at Akron, Yedlin (above) looked timid for the first 20 minutes in his preseason debut against Portland on Feb. 5. Since then, however, he has looked every bit a professional right back, charging forward down the right sideline and contributing at the back. He played the last 27 minutes with Seattle’s starters on Wednesday night.
Schmid: “His biggest thing is just recognizing how quick he is and how fast he is and making sure that’s part of his defending as well. He’s got to have that finality in his defending that he wants to win the ball. … He’s gotten much better at that, and he’s improving every day.”
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Zavaleta – The club’s first-round pick in the SuperDraft, the versatile Zavaleta has rarely seen action because the Sounders have been auditioning veteran center-back candidates to replace the departed Jeff Parke. A forward in college at Indiana, the Sounders are still leaning toward playing Zavaleta on the backline – he appeared at center back in two separate halves at the Desert Diamond Cup – but are not ruling out some looks at forward.
Schmid: “He’s gotten less minutes than the other guys, but that’s because we know we’re keeping him. We’re still not sure if he’s a center back or a forward. Right now we’re looking at him more as a center back. We’re wanting him to work a little bit on zone [defending]. He’s making progress and adjusting to the speed of play as well.”
Remick – The club’s second-round pick out of Brown, Remick remains in contention for a roster spot at left back and showed good versatility by playing right back on Wednesday. The Sounders are deep at fullback, but Schmid has been pleased with Remick’s contributions so far.
Schmid: “Remick is another guy who’s got a great engine. He’s very, very fit, and he’s somebody who’s adjusting to the pace of the game, but he’s improving every day.”