Sounders FC implications in a potential Deandre Yedlin sale

The World Cup is over.

Well, not really. But who are we kidding? For all intents and purposes most of the masses that had tuned in have subsequently lost interest now that the US have been eliminated from the tournament. However, for us in Seattle the end of the run for the US merely indicates that our teams gets closer to full strength back at the club level. Still keeping an eye pointed south with the World Cup final Sunday, last night was a reminder that club soccer has returned and done so in a big way with a heated US Open Cup match against Portland leading up to a regular season match against those same scummy Timbers this weekend following the World Cup final.

That being said there are certain distractions that we probably didn’t foresee occurring one month ago. The use of DeAndre Yedlin as a ‘super sub’ by head coach Jurgen Klinsmann during the course of the World Cup has, as we all know, raised his stock considerably. Organizations from around the world have taken notice. This just adds to the legend he’s established here in the Emerald City.

Yedlin’s iconic moments over the last year include:

– A sick deflection goal against Tigres UANL in the 2012-13 Champions League that spurring an epic comeback.

– An superman like effort with an assist and a goal against Portland in a losing effort during the 2013 playoff run.

– An uncanny performances on a world stage against the likes of both Portugal, Germany and Belgium.

Obviously there are more: his header over Shane O’Neil against the Rapids, the assist and brilliant run during the demolition of RSL, ect… he had moments and they were grand.

His evolution for Seattle is something that has surprised us all. Only a true optimist could have seen the quick ascent to fame and assumed fortune that is the next believed step for the first-born son of Rave Green. We all realize his rise brings rumors of all nature to the doorstep of the Pacific Northwest. These tellings run rampant with the likes of England, Belgium, Spain and Italy all competing for his services. It’s a lot to take in as most fans, myself included, had expected him to be a Sounder for the next couple of years. Instead we’re facing a tearful farewell just over the bend which seems all too soon.

In an effort to properly articulate what he’s meant for this club, in just a very short time. Here is a small table of the most notable right backs in Sounders history. Brad Evans is omitted in this case due to the complication of trying to contextualize the events that occurred only while playing right back. These are the main guys across the last six seasons.


James Riley (2009 – 2011)

2011 29 29 0 2579 2 7 1 26 0 3 0
2010 27 27 1 2418 3 8 2 20 1 4 0
2009 28 27 0 2334 4 2 2 24 1 4 2
    84 83 1 7331 9 17 5 70 2 11 2

Notes:  Riley was the first right back of the Rave Green’s MLS era. Coming over from San Jose via the 2008 MLS expansion draft, making him selected in back to back expansion drafts. Riley has a bit of a polarizing effecting concerning Sounder fans. Some liked him others not so much. All can agree he’s an excellent character and one of the nicest guys you’ll ever meet. He holds the record for the most starts at Right Back in the modern Sounder era.


Adam Johansson (2012)

2012 21 21 0 1834 2 0 0 31 2 1 0
    21 21 0 1834 2 0 0 31 2 1 0

Notes: Johansson had a lot of fan fare following his transfer from Sweden. Most would say his time in Seattle was underwhelming but the 2012 Sounders were a very good club and it marked the re-emergence of Eddie Johnson which was thanks in part to the outside service of Johansson.


Zach Scott (2009-2014)

2014 7 5 0 453 0 0 0 6 1 0 0
2013 21 16 0 1458 0 7 4 33 0 5 2
2012 20 16 1 1437 1 11 2 27 1 5 1
2011 12 9 0 864 0 3 0 11 0 3 0
2010 4 4 0 360 0 0 0 4 0 2 0
2009 9 6 0 492 0 1 0 7 0 2 0
  73 56 1 5064 1 22 6 88 2 17 3

Notes: Obviously the most tenured Sounder on the roster making more than 200 appearances over the course of their USL-to-MLS era. What’s more incredible is that he’s actually gotten better the more he’s aged. Now 34, and moved away from fullback,  he’s a solid center back fill in and organization talisman. His aerial dominance and physical player have always been key characteristics but with the strands of faded locks come a keen intelligence and smarts that often goes unnoticed by most fans. It’ll be a sad day when this man no longer wears true green.


DeAndre Yedlin (2013-2014)

2014 11 11 0 960 0 2 0 17 0 2 0
2013 31 30 1 2710 2 13 4 35 4 2 1
    42 41 1 3670 2 15 4 52 4 4 1

Note: The youngest man to ever don a Sounders jersey, at age 19 Yedlin debuted for the Sounders and sparkled with elite speed despite noticeable unpolished defensive tools. Now, just a year and a half later the young man is the best full back in MLS and is a game changer for the Sounders. His play just last night against the Timbers was yet another example of what he brings to a team that was missing it’s best attacking pieces. His technical ability, physical traits and growing soccer mind wreak havoc on the counter. Defensively we’ve seen a strong progression. He’s far from a finished product but that thought only excites and plays with the imagination of what he could become.


Thinking about what he’s done in just the very short time is rather stunning. Even more so when you think about the fact that we don’t have a method of comparing key passes, determining true quality of play and have a lack of predictive statistics such as expected assists due to the lack of data from pre-Opta MLS years. Replacing him is probably going to be rough and it’s going to be a while until we find a player with that type of magic. But the same thing was said about Fredy Montero just two short years ago.

The one thing that has gone largely unmentioned among Sounder supporters is not necessarily the price tag and allocation that will come with a sale, but what the Sounders will be able to do with that money for the club. Of course we know that outside of the allocation, and whatever cut MLS gets, the big chunk of cash will be reinvested in the club and none of us will truly know how that gets dispersed. It’s a matter of trust. You trust the organization that you give a great amount of money to, by reason of support, that they’ll be good stewards of their additional resource. There are no other choice and the team hasn’t given us a reason to think different.

The real focus and point here comes by way of the magic beans known as allocation money. Because of Yedlin’s status as a home-grown player he will net us full allocation dollars in a sale over a million dollars. This obviously has been reiterated quite a bit, however,  as it applies to the roster there is a lot that you can do with it and more so should you not have to put it towards a DP transfer fee or buying out a DP contract.

Obviously, Clint Dempsey has a multi-year deal that will make him a DP with this club for most of the rest of his career. Ozzie Alonso signed a two-year deal for what we know to be DP type dollars. That could change, that could stay the same. There is a possibility for the Sounders to pay him below the DP line and remove the tag. Lots of speculation about things we don’t know. Let’s just pretend in 2015 he’s a DP. Simply leaving Obafemi Martins and his perpetual state of “I love you, maybe.” It would not be outside the realm of possibility, or probability, that Martins could stick around Seattle for another year. These things are difficult to judge and making any sort of declarative statement is impossible, stupid and is best summarized as guessing. For the sake of argument lets say Adrian Hanauer manages to secure Obafemi Martins for one more year.

Right now the Sounders are 60 percent probable to win the Supporters Shield. Over at American Soccer Analysis we are a bit  more conservative, placing their odds at just over 50 percent. However you wish to handicap it, the boys have a very good shot at winning the shield and regaining entry to the Champions League next season.

Additional allocation with full designated players on the roster leads to spending that money to build proper support and depth for this club. That allocation on top of the extra allocation that would be brought in purely because of their inclusion in the Champions League paves the way for roster depth upgrades. One of the biggest problems for Champions League clubs is the fact that most say we don’t have the quality at the end of the bench (roster spots 12-18) like clubs down in Mexico. This would not completely change things but it would be about narrowing the gap. A transfer of Yedlin would be sad but could generate the provisions for a good replacement plus two additional roster spot upgrades.

I’m not trying to put the cart before the horse. Yedlin is so good that he’s an additional DP without having to pay him that sort of money. I’m all for him staying, and staying long-term. But with how well this season has been and the emergence of both Marco Pappa and Gonzalo Pineda as not just quality pieces but MLS starters. There will be some salary complications down the road and decisions will have to be made.

Sometimes it’s hard to make the right decision, even when it’s the easiest decision to make. Is it time to sell Yedlin? Maybe not. Maybe. I suppose that all lies in the offers that Hanauer receives and only he’ll be able to make that determination.

With all that said don’t get carried away should that happen. Good things can still come from it. This is part of what comes with ‘the future‘.