Meanwhile… in Seattle.
This is a Seattle Sounders blog, but I’ve been remiss about commenting on the Rave Green, as I’ve gone all Red, White and Blue. But even the Sounders have caught the international bug lately.
As you know Brad Evans was key last night in setting up Bobby Wood’s game-winning goal against Germany. Former Sounder DeAndre Yedlin also acquitted himself well in Cologne and (maybe?) future Sounder Jordan Morris saw significant minutes as well.
The Rave Green in Stars and Stripes will continue as Captain Brad and Clint Dempsey were named to the preliminary Gold Cup roster, along with the aforementioned Yedlin and Morris (Marco Pappa was also named to the Guatemalan team).
It seems Seattle has proven itself to be quite the pipeline to the national team, whether you are a veteran like Evans or a prospect like Morris. The academy, the coaching, the culture of the Seattle Sounders is key. And yet where is Seattle’s representation at the U-23 and U-20 level? Both teams recently recorded exciting wins (U-23 2-1 on penalties over England and U-20 1-0 over Colombia in the World Cup). I’d love to see Kovar, Mansaray and Jones get regular minutes in such high stakes games.
Of the three, only the youngest, Mansaray, has gotten capped on a US team. He has made 6 appearances with the USMNT U-18s, most significantly in their 1-0 win over Ukraine last August. This experience is key to his confidence and exposure to world-class talent. Young players need quality minutes. They need pressure. Yedlin would be just as obscure as Kovar if not for Adam Johansson’s untimely preseason injury back in 2013. But the opportunity arose and he seized it. Sure there were growing pains, but he hustled and made his name and now plays in England.
Kovar needs that opportunity. I worry less about Jones, as he played three seasons of collegiate soccer, two at the D-1 level. But Kovar dropped out of college and the only competition he has known is in the academy and S2. I am not saying (or hoping for an injury) to start him on the first team right now, but a spot on the U-23s sure wouldn’t hurt. Come on Sigi, bend your boy Jurgen’s ear a little harder.