- Posted by Drew Epperley
- On November 11, 2009
- 2 Comments
- 2009 Season Recaps, Drew Carey, Fredy Montero, Jhon Kennedy Hurtado, Kasey Keller, Nate Jaqua, Osvaldo Alonso, Sigi Schmid
Everyone knew going into the 2009 season that the new kids on the block would make a splash. Just the kind of splash the league needed in some folks eyes. The Seattle Sounders FC came into the year not as a typical expansion club. No this group broke the mold for expansion clubs by being able to sign players from their old USL club and by going out of their way to sign quality veteran players to play even before the expansion draft last November.
Yes, these Sounders made a splash on and off the field as well. Minority owner Drew Carey hyped up his club in every way possible on TV or the radio or in newspapers. For once it looked like a club just got “it” for getting people’s attention in a city.
And it worked too as Seattle became one of the most successful expansion teams in Major League Soccer history. No they didn’t end up winning it all like the 1998 expansion Chicago Fire but they did definitely bring in a new era of how to do things both on and off the field.
Seattle started off strong in 2009 with big wins at home in front of massively packed crowds that the league had never seen on a consistent basis before. Guys like Newcomer of the Year Fredy Montero and Nate Jaqua proved to be solid up top while former USL guys like Osvaldo Alonso and Sebastian Le Toux proved they had what it takes to be big time MLS players.
Then there was the DP, the designated player from Sweden Freddie Ljungberg. The Swede proved to a load of folks around the league that he still had some gas left in the tank and that the wouldn’t be a Denilson-type of DP.
The club was tough to figure out for others as they went on to win their first US Open Cup in DC back in September, securing a spot in next year’s CONCACAF Champions League. Let’s just hope this year’s bunch will be one that they can build on for years to come.
What Went Right In 2009:
As mentioned above on and off the field there was plenty to smile about in Seattle this year. Montero was a beast to handle. Veterans like Ljungberg and Kasey Keller were great when needed. New faces like Jhon Kennedy Hurtado made big impacts and Sigi Schmid continues to be the Sigi Schmid we all know. Winning the Open Cup was also a big step for this club as well. They proved late in the year when it mattered most that they could get the job done away from home. Oh and lastly, the fans in Seattle were amazing this year…no getting around it they were just amazing.
What Went Wrong In 2009:
The play on the field wasn’t always so rosy. May was a dry spell that saw the club not win a single game (though they didn’t lose a game either). They struggled at home against clubs they should have beaten and the defense was clearly the weakest link on the field at times. Until late in the year they struggled on the road and looked like they may even fall out of playoff contention. But getting in the playoffs they struggled offensively to beat Houston.
I think next is just the start of what could be a good run for this club. The foundation is there and we know the veterans that are coming back. I believe the transfer talks surrounding Montero will continue to be there but he will return in 2010. I think they need to get some depth right away on defense and find some extra quality in the midfield. Lastly getting Montero some support up top wouldn’t hurt at all. There is work to be done but to be honest it won’t be as hard as other clubs out there.