To continue my 2015 Seattle Sounders Season Preview, we’ll look at potential contributors we don’t expect to contribute.
Sounders Preview Part 2: Meet the 2015 Seattle Sounders Sleepers
All us bloggers, analysts and talking heads can predict and project what Seattle will look like and do in the coming season, but we don’t know squat. The roster goes all topsy-turvy early in the year. Who knew that the trialist with the supposed career-ending injury would become a rock in the midfield. Gonzalo Pineda was off everyone’s radar at this time last year, as was DeAndre Yedlin and Mauro Rosales before him. Yes we have a stacked roster and it is logical to expect little wiggle. However. The 11 we start today will most definitely not be the 11 we come to count on during the next 33 weeks. So let’s meet some of the new players and fringe starters we may come to count on sooner than we think.
Of all the new faces on the Sounders’ roster, the most notable is rookie Cristian Roldan. The former Huskie star made his MLS debut Sunday night for all of 15 seconds. Though we haven’t seen much from him, the Sounders believe they pulled a major coup on Draft Day when Roldan fell to them. But it’s been a long time since a Seattle draft pick contributed much on the pitch. Barring anything Yedlin-esque, that won’t change in 2015. Roldan has the pedigree and talent to star at this level and that’s why he’s a sleeper. He’s got a great soccer IQ and is a very technical player. His inclusion in the 18 was huge last weekend, but he probably won’t see many MLS minutes. I expect to see Roldan really excel with the now operational developmental squad, S2, and he should grow into the Pineda role in the future.
Every team needs a folk hero and the legend of Kevin Parsemain lives on. Last season, the Rave Green faithful were teased by many preseason goals from Parsemain only to see him get injured and miss the year. He’s back and he proved in Tucson that all he does is score goals. The question for Parsemain is, can he contribute quality MLS minutes? At age 27, not exactly a young buck developing, he won’t get the benefit of the doubt. Though he’ll be competing with Cooper and Barrett for a spot in the 18, I think we can reasonably expect 6-8 goals from him this year.
New leftback Andres Correa is a young Colombian that didn’t impressed me much in preseason. Other than being a Channing Tatum doppleganger, he did very little of note on the pitch. Correa, however, gets the benefit of that doubt as he is only 21. Seattle has proven pretty good at scouting quality young Colombian talent. If Correa continues to develop and settles into the American style of the game, he could be the leftback of the future.
Aaron Kovar was conspicuously left off this list, as he deserves his own post. Kovar is probably THE sleeper in Seattle for 2015. Like Roldan he logged some, relatively, significant MLS minutes on Sunday night. His talent, natural position and the Sounders’ needs mesh very, very favorably for the Garfield High grad.
But if the Sounders starters keep playing like they did Sunday, these youngsters will be kept at bay.