Seattle Sounders Season Preview Part 2: Defense
Much like yesterday’s exploration of goalkeepers, we’ll continue to explore the 2016 roster by mostly drilling into the depth and the change of guard. To continue the season preview, today we look at centerback.
It’s funny because here in Seattle we’ve been accustomed to some subpar centerback paly. We didn’t have Jeff Parke long enough, Djimi was old, Tyrone Marshall own-goaled us in his short tenure, only Ianni’s mullet was memorable and Hurtado… Jhon Kennedy Hurtado… when he was good, he was great. But 95% of the time he was the hottest garbage. Hurtado was one of the few Sounders that I absolutely wanted the door to hit on the way out.
I love the man, the myth, the legend, Zach Scott, but when a plucky but undersized scrapper is your best option year in and year out, you know you’ve had rough luck. But then for one brief moment last summer, Seattle finally had two centerbacks to reckon with. Towering Roman Torres lined up next to future hall of famer Chad Marshall and the Sounders had a wall. Then of course Torres popped his ACL going for a loose ball in only his fourth game in green, and the position was once again precarious.
TLDR: The starters are great, depth is a problem, and Roman Torres’s health is key.
With the recent release of wannabe Sounder Roberto Chen and the aforementioned injury to Torres, the only backups to current starters Brad Evans and Chad Marshall is Jimmy Ockford and the aging wonder Zach Scott.
The pride of Yardley, PA, Jimmy Ockford, has only one start for the boys in Rave Green. Last summer during The Drought, Ockford went the full 90 in that embarrassing 1-nil loss in Philly. Ockford didn’t exactly “earn” the start, but was rather another warm body in a lineup including Neagle up top, supported by Kovar, Pappa and Roldan, with Azira and Pineda in front of Fisher, Ockford, Scott and Remick. Woof. Ockford had a nice run with the Cosmos on loan in 2014, but how much he can realistically contribute is very much in question.
Scott could very well quote the black knight from Monty Python because he is not quite dead yet. He has retired and unretired maybe as many times as Brett Favre and the theory is that he may not even finish the season this year. Scott may have delayed hisreturn home to Haiku, HI, to play band-aid until Torres heals up.
Finally, Damion Lowe is maybe in the mix but he is currently on trial with Minnesota United of the USL. It doesn’t appear he’s in any gameday plans soon.
Unless the Sounders plan on bringing in a backup or a body, this is the depth they’ll have until big Roman returns to dominating the position. Torres is doing light training with the team and looking stoked to be a Sounder (who didn’t love that photo of him and the crew chilling in Tucson?). Torres is one of the biggest ifs going into 2016 for Seattle. IF Torres can return to his previous level of play this summer, we have a very real shot at MLS Cup.