- Posted by Drew Epperley
- On March 11, 2009
- 2 Comments
- 2009 Season Preview, Freddie Ljungberg, Fredy Montero, John Kennedy Hurtado, Kasey Keller, Season Previews, Sigi Schmid, Steve Zakuani
We are nearly done with our 2009 season previews, just two more stops with the first being in Seattle. The expansion Sounders enter MLS with loads of hype and lots of questions. Can Sigi Schmid lead an expansion side to the playoffs or will this club be like a typical expansion club and struggle throughout their first season? What kind of impact will Freddie Ljungberg be on this club? And by how much will this club do sell in attendance compaired to the rest of the league?
Either way, loads of hype.
2008 record and finish: Expansion club
Offseason Player Movement:
Sebastien Le Toux (via signing from Seattle – USL1)
Freddie Ljungberg (via signing from West Ham United – England)
Sanna Nyassi (via signing from Ports Authority FC – Gambia)
Kasey Keller (via signing from Fulham – England)
Brad Evans (Expansion Draft)
Nate Jaqua (Expansion Draft)
Stephen King (Expansion Draft)
Jeff Parke (Expansion Draft)
James Riley (Expansion Draft)
Jarrod Smith (Expansion Draft)
Khano Smith (Expansion Draft)
Nathan Sturgis (Expansion Draft)
Peter Vagenas (Expansion Draft)
Tyson Wahl (Expansion Draft)
Chris Eylander (via signing from Seattle – USL1)
Steve Zakuani (SuperDraft)
Patrick Ianni (via trade – Houston Dynamo)
Osvaldo Alonso (via signing from Charleston Battery – USL1)
Fredy Montero (via transfer from Deportivo Cali – Columbia)
Vinicius Oliveira (Sounder Search Winner)
Tyrone Marshall (trade with Toronto)
Jhon Kennedy Hurtado (via signing from Deportivo Cali – Columbia)
Khano Smith (trade with New York)
Questions going into 2009:
1. Will the defense be any good?
We know what kind of offense this will be. You have Nate Jaqua, Fredy Montero, and Sebastian LeToux leading the attack. The midfield seems like it could be solid but the defense has a lot of question marks. The lack of a solid central defender is a big concern for this club and for keeper Kasey Keller. Schmid has a couple guys that are solid like Tyrone Marshall or Tyson Wahl but neither are the lock-down type that he would want (like a Chad Marshall).
If recent signee John Kennedy Hurtado can be the type of guy that attracted attention from AC Milan, then Schmid may be alright in the back. Hurtado is quick and aggressive, two things that may just be enough to keep the pressure off Keller and keep the attack going this year at Qwest Field.
2. What exactly will Ljungberg bring to this club?
Being a Swede at heart I love Ljungberg. Hearing that he was going to sign with a MLS club was great news but its a mystery signing to me. I know his work rate and what he brings to the field each time but his health is a major concern. Not to mention the fact that he hasn’t played much over the last couple of seasons.
Still his marketing ability for this club is already been seen and we know the impact that has made on the city already. If he can even do half of that on the field he will be worth the DP tag. But history tells us that most DPs don’t work out, but let’s hope he will be more of a Blanco/Angel type DP and not a Denilson/Reyna type.
3. Player to keep an eye on in 2009.
Fredy Montero is a guy everyone will know of by the end of May. Montero is a goal-scoring machine, he’s the type that is a go-to striker that will be a nightmare for most clubs. Best part for Seattle is he is only 21. Should Montero reach the 10-15 goal mark this year everyone will see why he is such a special talent.
Look at the 2009 Schedule:
For an expansion side you never what know to expect. We know they will pack the stands at Qwest Field. The first half of the season they spend the bulk of their time at home. Out of the 18 games to start the year, 11 of those are at home with no long stretches on the road.
After the All-Star break things change up and this club hits the road. Blame sharing a stadium with a NFL club if you will for that reason. Their last 12 games see them on the road eight times, with one three game trip in August and a late back-to-back roadie in October.
2009 Season Outlook:
This may be one of the better attacking expansion clubs that we’ve seen since Chicago in 1998. Thing is even that Fire club struggled early before they went on to win a MLS Cup.
The key will be for Schmid to work through the tough times early. With a heavy home slate early he can do that. Not to mention the amount of veterans on this club that know how to get the job done will help. It just all comes down to the defense for this club, if they don’t let in cheap goals and score in bunches like some believe they can, we could see them contend for a playoff spot.
Still this club being an expansion side it makes it very hard for predicting success. The Sounders have a talented roster so I would expect them to compete this year and probably even surprise a few outside of the Pac-Northwest.
No matter what it will be exciting to see what happens in Seattle. The buzz there is enough to get us all interested.