Monday is the day I do a weekly recap for North and South of Royal Brougham. Why, might you ask? Because despite Friday being the normal day for it, Sunday is the best day I can write about it. It also refreshes all the stories you saw last week about Aaron Kovar, Sean Okoli and Chad Barrett so you don’t forget!
Sounders Add Two Home Grown Talents
There was rumors since the begging of this off-season — and really even before it started, that the Sounders would be looking to add more youth to this club in the form of Home Grown Players. Much of this is was all conjecture from a fan perspective. But those thoughts gain traction with Okoli cryptic mentions and Kovar suddenly joining the craziness on twitter.
Now, this is obviously something you’ve probably heard elsewhere and a lot of people are really excited about it. That’s reasonable reaction since they are changes that do two specific things; 1) they add talent depth to a roster with players who have potential to impact the 2014 season, 2) and possibly more important they are additions for the long term growth of the organization. Both of these talents have the ceiling to be MLS regulars and possibly more if things break right.
An interesting note on the signings was provided by SoundersFC.com who quoted Sigi Schmid: “We’ve tried to sign guys when we felt like the positional need was there, as well. It’s important when you sign Academy kids that you have a vehicle in which they can get on the field and play,” Obviously it’s been noted quite a bit that Kovar is a wide midfielder and fits naturally on the left side, and that’s position without much depth on the roster. However, Okoli is a bit more interesting.
A forward that has been referenced to have the ability to be a target up top and do some hold up play in the forward position. He will be added to a position that already has Obafemi Martins, Kenny Cooper, Lamar Neagle, David Estrada and the recently added Chad Barrett — whom we’ll get to in a second, and doesn’t even make mention of the conundrum that is Eriq Zavaleta who was advertised at the time of the draft a near ready MLS talent. Yet a year later we still don’t even have a position for him.
It’ll be interesting to see how Sigi Schmid decided to ingrate these new youthful talents into the team.
Chad Barrett Officially Added
There is something that the Sounders were missing last year and I’m not saying that it specifically was Chad Barrett but they missed that Allocation Money to be able to add depth…like, as an example, Chad Barrett. Barrett isn’t a starter on this club, he was good depth last year for a New England club that made the playoffs and an occasional starter for back-to-back MLS Cup winning LA Galaxy. Surely, he’s nothing to sneeze at in terms of his talent.
He’s a guy that doesn’t have a lot of speed but he’s wily in the same sense as Chris Wondolowski. He has a good ability to read where he needs to be at on the pitch as a forward and he can also serve as a bit of depth out wide as a right midfielder. Obviously he doesn’t quite fill the role that you would expected from Mauro Rosales — he’s not a traditional winger — but he could fill in during a rough patch of injuries, late in a match, or even as depth during the World Cup.
He’s not one of those herald signings that we keep expecting to drop out of no where. In fact I’ve read more groaning with a few added marginal reviews of his talents than anything. I’m not saying that he’s something to really get excited about but he’s the type of addition that we didn’t make last year and this is a good move.
MLS Draft This Week
There is a lot to be made about the MLS Superdraft. College kids get the rough end of the stick from a lot of various soccer supporters in America. Many of them come out at 22, 23 and as late as 24 which to a lot of people would imply that it limits their upside. This maybe true, and heck it probably is, but that doesn’t mean there have been some good talents that have come from this draft in recent years and even last year. Dillon Powers and Deshorn Brown were huge pieces that were instrumental in getting the Rapids back into the playoffs, Kofi Opare played 500+ minutes for Bruce Arena’s team that was second in MLS in Total Shots Ratio (meaning they took more shots than they allowed) and there are also the mentions of Devon Sandoval, Kekuta Manneh and oh, yeah… Andrew Farrell another in the crop of budding young right backs in MLS.
The MLS Draft isn’t’ about getting starters for many teams, it’s about supplementing the talent they already have in place. Bruce Arena has been doing it for years, RSL and Garth Lagerwey have had some success stories too — but beyond all that there will be talents that are bypassed by all and one day we’ll all wonder why that happened. The Sounders, if I was a betting man, will have the money at their disposal to take a risk on a talent that isn’t a Generation Adidas caliber player. In years past they’ve looked to these players to because of talent, need and the fact they won’t count against their pay roll. This year I expect things could very well be different.
I also expect they could surprise us with a talent that maybe most don’t expect.
The most common player I’ve seen associated with them is Joey Dillon, a midfielder from the University of Georgetown. Ironically most pundints site him as being an overlooked talent that has a bit of bite and fits them due to their lack of a back-up for Ozzie Alonso. Dillon could fit into the club as someone who could supplement the Honey Badger should the Sounders run into another occasion of him missing time due to injury.
From CollegeMadness.com “Dillon has seen playing time in the midfield as well as the back line. However, his most recent action has come in a holding midfielder role. Dillon possesses good vision and surveys the field with regularity, making him aware of potential outlets even before he receives the ball. Though he rarely looks to score or set up teammates in the final third, Dillon assists in building up play through the midfield and acts as another layer of support for the back line. Because he has the ability to make a quality cross with his right foot, professional teams might consider using Dillon at right back in addition to his typical defensive midfielder role.”
This scouting report pretty much spells an individual that the Rave Green could use in the middle of the park, Alonso or no. Brad Evans isn’t getting younger and if he ends up in a more wide position it would hardly be a terrible thing to see the front office add some depth.
These are the big stories of the last week and I’d imagine the MLS Draft becomes a central theme this week. Here’s to adding more talent to the roster and maybe even a quality wide player.