Great win yesterday. Oba opened his account, Pappa rode the pine and Neagle got his groove back. To top it all off, the Pitch Black kit was hot. There are a lot of angles from this game to discuss: the new formation, the multiple goals, the resurgence of Andy Rose, and our incredible depth.
Our team is so much better than last year’s. Our roster is deep and varied, and the new pieces added to Team Rave Green are all contributing. Like a public relations coup for the front office, each game has given us glimpses of the new players: first Okoli, than Pineda, and now Michael Azira.
I make no claims of being a premier soccer analyst. I am still learning the ins and outs of the game. With football or baseball, I feel like Neo. I can see all the little green squiggles in slow motion and decode the action. With soccer, I am still very much in the Matrix. I do not understand all the varied qualities of the new Sounders and what exactly they can and can’t bring to the team. But I sure am excited by our depth. Okoli was great against SKC, Pineda stellar against TFC, and Azira was solid on Sunday.
Last year, if we had to travel without Dempsey and Evans, Alex Caskey would’ve played. It is a testament to our depth that we could afford to trade Caskey. Don’t get me wrong, I liked Caskey. I was always pulling for him, he was feisty and covered ground (I know, I know, the universal traits of an easy-to-like grinder). I was at the Santos game last year and he acquitted himself well. Thing is, when we had to start Caskey or bring him in for significant minutes, I was never excited. Always hopeful, but never excited. I wanted to see his game click. It never did.
This league used to belong to the Caskeys of the world. MLS 2004 was full of them. Today, why carry a young player like that on your roster if you don’t have to? Caskey is a good enough player. He should have a job for the foreseeable future. He has talent, but the better MLS teams don’t need a Caskey. Not when you can roster veteran savvy (Pineda) or potential (Okoli). Being able to trade Caskey makes our roster stronger on paper. Playing Pineda, Azira and Cooper proves it on the pitch.