Welcome to the future Sounders fans! Tonight S2 dusts off their opaque logo for the first time ever.
This is where new President of Soccer Garth Lagerwey is gonna earn his pay. Yes he was hired to do the tricky job of making a great team greater, but also to oversee the development of S2. You need new blood. The Sounders built a strong Academy system and have always been good with scouting, player development and signing Home Grown talent. But a regular and competitive minor league team is indispensable.
Sports explores mortality. Everyone ages, breaks down and ACLs happen. Sports asks us, what can you do with your brief shot in the sun? “Next man up” has become a cliché because a team can never expect all its players all the time (if only we had Ozzie against L.A.). S2 will become the lifeblood of the senior team.
Recently signed rightback Oniel Fisher exemplifies the “next man up.” Lagerwey said Fisher was signed to a senior team contract because of his Jamaican national team pedigree and his position. With the loss of Yedlin, and the age of starter Tyrone Mears, the Sounders hope to see him develop into an MLS-starting caliber player with S2.
Lagerwey also discussed some of the mechanics of the roster relationship between the Sounders and S2. He said, “You can loan down, but not loan up. It’s not 100% black and white but that’s the simplest …way to express it… [Elevating] guys on an S2 contract is trickier…” Thus the reason Fisher is on a senior team contract.
S2 has only eight players under contract, not enough to field a full 18, let alone a starting eleven. Lagerwey said to expect guys loaned down from the Sounders and even some loaned up from the Academy for the duration of the season. S2’s roster is currently:
Oniel Fisher and Charlie Lyon are expected to log serious USL minutes, as are the HGPs, Aaron Kovar, Darwin Jones and Victor Mansaray. Recent draft picks Damion Lowe and Jimmy Ockford should also play. I am curious whether Cristina Roldan, he of two senior team appearances in his first two games, will develop with S2 or be held back with the big boys.
S2 doesn’t get a cakewalk in their first game ever, as they host the reigning USL Champs, Sacramento Republic. Sacramento is coached by former MLS-great Preki and just signed former Sounder David Estrada. Hell, I know nothing anything the USL: let’s say S2 wins.