MLS is a league that encourages roster turnover. The Seattle Sounders are not immune as they’ve gotten used to roster shake-ups in recent years. In 2012 they notably cut ties with Fredy Montero and in 2013 they moved on from both Eddie Johnson and Mauro Rosales. Last year was a new-look Sounders squad and 2014 to 2015 was supposed to be a seamless transition. I couldn’t wait for the season to begin just to get that taste of losing* to L.A. out of my mouth.
You all know the story; Seattle won a record 20 games, the Supporter’s Shield and a fourth US Open Cup. They did so employing eleven men committed to playing beautiful, attacking soccer. This season the Sounders were supposed to pick up where they left off last year, scoring goals and winning silverware, because they returned almost that entire starting 11 (with the exception of Yedlin of course). But a funny thing happened on the way to the season.
The roster we knew and loved is changing. People get older (Leo), people get cut (Parsemain), people get disappeared (Cooper?). Ozzie is still out. Mears and Marshall have both picked up knocks and now Dempsey is injured (thanks Klinsmann). Pappa will be away this weekend on national team duty, so the only thing we know for certain is to expect some seriously creative starting lineups.
On the long term, the roster shakeup may prove to be a good thing. Sigi Schmid has always been a manager who tinkers early in the season. And he has more data this season than ever before. With the maiden voyage of S2 and a friendly against Liga MX power Club Tijuana, many of the players on the backend of the roster got serious playing time. Oniel Fisher, Cristian Roldan and Aaron Kovar, oh Aaron Kovar, especially impressed. The more minutes these guys get, the more confidence. The more confidence, the sooner they can contribute to the first team. Roster shake-up from the youth inheriting the eleven is a good thing.
I am looking forward to the dynamics that the young guns can bring to the Rave Green. If the eleven men on the field hoisting MLS Cup come winter are a little younger than I expected, I’ll take it. Hell, I hope to see some of them starting this weekend.
*we didn’t lose to L.A., we merely failed to advance on a technicality. Yeah. I’m bitter.