The Seattle Sounders Need to Sign a Center Back

The MLS Summer transfer window closes August 6th meaning the Seattle Sounders have a week to sign a center back.

Seattle needs more than on reliable center back. I don’t know if we can solely blame Chad Marshall’s absence for the horrific performance of the backline Monday, but it’s a start. Maybe we blame the fact that the team expected to have him, practice and schemed this way and then was mentally unprepared to not have him. Maybe? But that isn’t any different from just blaming his absence. If anything, the late Chad Marshall scratch shows we need more quality depth.

Zach Scott has been, dare I say, a revelation at center back this season. I was a little worried when he started filling in for Djimi Traore, but was quickly relieved. However he does seem to work better with Marshall. In our last three home games before the Galaxy, Scott teamed up with Marshall to allow zero home goals (while the rampaging attack poured in seven!). Marshall spatial awareness and 1v1 prowess and allows Scott to do his thing (play hard-nosed, slightly reckless but aerially and physically dominant defense).  Yet playing without Marshall, Scott’s weaknesses were exposed.

Jalil Anibaba is no slouch. I ain’t anti-Anibaba, but him and Scott are not a complementary backline. They both like to chase their man and thus cede positioning way too easily. Him and Scott are fine pieces individually, but not when played together. Considering the way Seattle wants to play, fast-paced soccer that’s committed to a beautifully fluid attack, we need an absolutely dependable backline. And since we push our fullbacks so often into attacking space, the center backs especially must be resolute.

I think of the NFL. If a defense wants to blitz the hell out of you, and commit all their linebackers and even the safeties in the rush, it needs cornerbacks that can be left on an island. The corners will be exposed and must be beasts in man-to-man coverage or they will be beat. Think of the Seahawks and the Legion of Boom. Richard Sherman can shut down half the secondary allowing everyone else to bring the heat.

With Clint Dempsey, Obafemi Martins and Marco Pappa, the Sounders love to bring the heat. But we often leave our center backs exposed. If we don’t have Marshall’s steady presence back there it gets ugly. This team’s strength is its attack, and we need to invest in a center back to continue to play to our strengths.

Are you listening Sounders FC? Chris Henderson, Adrian Hanauer, do it now. Sign a quality centerback. He doesn’t need to be a world-beater, hell, he doesn’t need to be a DP. We just need another young, quality center back.

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