While the last week of Major League Soccer news has surrounded transfers of designated players, re-entry drafts and some guy named Mix (although Portland may have screwed that up), Seattle Sounders FC have remained relatively quiet in their own little happy world. Although the Sounders have yet to make that giant move that will set them up for a cup run in 2013, there has been plenty of action by the front office which started a week ago with the Sounders FC Annual Business Meeting and ended today with the announcement of the 2013 MLS First Kick dates and opponents. There’s also a few pictures out today of Osvaldo Alonso training in England with West Ham — great experience to bring back to Seattle
Canada invading CenturyLink March 2 — For the second straight season the Sounders will open their home schedule with a team from the great white north. The Montreal Impact will face Seattle March 2 with the time yet to be set (Although it’s likely a 7 p.m. match). This will not only be the first time the boys in blue and white have visited Seattle, but it’ll also mark the return of former Sounder and Federal Way-native Lamar Neagle. The Impact struggled early in ’12 but bounced back when they opened their soccer-specific Saputo Stadium and nearly made a playoff run before their chances dwindled away in the last weeks of the season. Single-game ticket sales have not yet been released, nor has the remainder of the 2013 MLS schedule or CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinal schedule.
Sounders make a back line statement — Following the trade of center back Jeff Parke to his native Philadelphia, on question on every Sounders fan’s mind was who would be brought in to replace him. While the name Jose David Velasquez has been (and still is) being tossed around as a transfer target and possible replacement, the Sounders went ahead and resigned Patrick Ianni and Jhon Kennedy Hurtado, making a pretty definitive statement that if the Velasquez move doesn’t pan out, they’ve got their center back pairing. Hurtado had a solid season last year, pairing very good with Parke to form the league’s second best defense, while Ianni battled injury for most of the year and didn’t figure into the rotation. If both can stay healthy it would probably mean a slight drop-off from last year, but not a drastic one.
Adrian In — At the Sounders FC Annual Business Meeting, one of the most anticipated announcements was the result of the club’s first-ever GM vote on the retention of Adrian Hanauer. I am very much a fan of Hanauer and thought retaining him was a no-brainer, apparently 97 percent of Sounders fans felt the same way, as just over 500 of 13,000 voted for Hanauer to be removed. After the meeting Hanauer went to Las Vegas to celebrate… or he was there for the Sounders draft combine… one of the two.
Coming later this week I’ll start a series on what moves the Sounders need to make when the winter transfer market opens, what moves they will make and how this team is going to look come training camp come January. Any thoughts or questions you want covered? Comment and I’ll take a look at them.