By Aaron Campeau
If there’s a question mark with this team, it’s along the back line. The loss of Parke may well have been unavoidable but it’s nonetheless a major blow. While the pairing of Patrick Ianni and Jhon Kennedy Hurtado is at worst above-average, Ianni has struggled with injuries throughout his time in Seattle and his return from a foot injury sustained during training camp is still unknown.
Djimi Traore impressed in pre-season and his addition at the very least bolsters the team’s depth in central defense, but how significant his contribution will be remains to be seen. If Traore can be the defensive version of Mauro Rosales, the Sounders back line could be one of the league’s best. If he struggles to make an impact, it could very well be the Sounders achilles heel.
At outside back, Seattle is likely in a better position than most teams. Adam Johansson was perhaps a disappointment in his first season with the club, but much of this is due to high expectations and salary. In terms of on-field contribution Johansson is one of the better right backs in the league, but several costly mental lapses in major situations tended to overshadow his largely solid play.
On the left, Leo Gonzalez had his best season in Seattle in 2012 and provided consistently above-average performances, while Marc Burch provides a more attacking option and should feature on a rotational basis. Zach Scott will once again provide cover at all three defensive positions, while rookies Dylan Remick and DeAndre Yedlin have been impressive in pre-season and have a chance to pick up more first-team minutes than might have been expected a month ago.