The Seattle Sounders are old. Yesterday I discussed the usefulness of veteran Chad Barrett to an experienced team looking to win big. Older teams have talent, experience and savvy. They also have injury problems and a shorter shelf life.
MLS’s Matthew Doyle explored the question of Seattle’s aging roster recently and pretty much dismissed it. But it is a potential concern. Things fall apart, the center cannot hold. We’ve seen injuries slow the team down (Ozzie, Oba) and players lose a step (Pineda, Marshall).
7 of Seattle’s ideal 11 is 30 or older. 30 isn’t some magic number for decline (unless you are an NFL runningback), but it usually signifies the autumn of a player’s prime. Thus the majority of our team is heading towards the winter of their careers. Aside from maybe Frei, who is also arguably also in his late prime, only Neagle and Pappa are solidly in the sweet spot of their careers. And Dylan Remick is the only spring chicken.
Seattle’s cumulative age is currently 29.81. We are just squeaking under 30 because we swapped our oldest player, Leo Gonzalez, for the 10th youngest (and remember that counts teenagers). With Gonzalez at leftback, the team’s cumulative age jumps a whole year to 30.1. That is really old.
Hopefully Remick for Gonzalez is just the tip of the youth movement iceberg. The Sounders need to start blooding their young talent more. Other than Remick, only Rose regularly sees minutes. Think of all the players who will need to be replaced next year, Pineda for example. Can we expect Roldan to be 100% ready in March 2016?
Sigi seems hellbent-for-leather to ride this squad as far as they can go. We were a technicality away from our first MLS Cup tilt. This is still, by and large, the same team that took the league by storm last season, and if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. Unless, of course, they break down.