SEATTLE — Leo González has been a full participant during this week’s training sessions, putting him in position to at least compete for the Seattle Sounders' starting left-back job when the season opens on March 8.
Healthy or not, though, González looks to have some competition for the spot.
One of the preseason standouts in Sounders' camp has been Dylan Remick, the second-year left back who has already notched a pair of assists during Seattle’s 3-0-1 start to preseason. Although Remick only made one regular-season appearance during his rookie season, he got the attention of his coaches.
“I was pleased with Dylan’s development last year,” Sounders head coach Sigi Schmid said. “I know we only got him into the one game, but I thought he was really coming along on the reserve team. He was right at a point where it would have been good to get him in there and that’s when he pulled his hamstring. That set him back a little bit.
“I thought his engine was good, he was improving on his decisions, defensively I thought he was pretty solid. In preseason this year, it started off a little slow for him but I thought it’s gone well.”
When the Sounders picked Remick in the second round of last year’s SuperDraft, it was mostly for his raw athletic ability. The former track runner could easily get up and down the left flank and had the speed to recover.
What he lacked was the kind of defensive awareness that he’d need at the MLS level.
“I used my athleticism a lot in college and that’s what got me by,” Remick told MLSsoccer.com. “But at this level it’s a little bit different. My vision and defending were areas where I also used my athleticism to overshadow those areas. Those are some areas I really wanted to work on.”
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With DeAndre Yedlin patrolling the opposite flank for the foreseeable future, Remick also understands that he’ll have to be careful to pick his spots when getting forward.
“The one thing that they have been adamant about is defense is first,” Remick said. “That’s the one thing I’m trying everyday to work on. You can only be so good on offense, but your first job is defense and that’s what Leo does so well. That’s something I’m trying to learn from him and the coaching staff."
But while Remick may have slowed his role, so to speak, he’s not ready to entirely shackle himself to the defensive half.
“I think I can offer something on the offensive side as well,” he added. “It’s defense first, but if I can get up the field and help the attack, I’m going to try to do that. I believe that’s what separates me from other outside backs. That’s why they drafted me. I’m going to use all my skill sets to try to give my team the best chance to win.”