MLS 2015 Season Preview: Seattle Sounders
While the 2014 season was one that many lauded, the team failed to complete the treble and finished the season with an MLS Cup victory, one that has eluded the team every year since they joined the MLS.
The new season brings about a new hunger in the chase to the title - the aging team looks to take another crack at winning everything they can this year, including the Supporters' Shield, the CONCACAF Champion's League, and the MLS Cup title.
Unfortunately for the Sounders, they face a foe that has not had much effect on their team as of late - Father Time. Specifically in the defense, the Sounders are looking to field a player that is 34 (Leo Gonzalez) and two that are 32 (Chad Marshall and newcomer Tyrone Mears). As well, captain Brad Evans seems to be making his way into the back line as Zach Scott, also 34, comtemplates his future in the MLS. The new dynamic with Mears, replacing DeAndre Yedlin, will be interesting to watch as he looks to step right into a starting role into a Sounders team that is pretty much the same as last year.
As well, there are some concerns after a disappointing preseason, in which there were many ups and downs. In their final match of the preseason, the Sounders' starting 11 faced the second team of Sporting Kansas City, and unfortunately finished with a draw, 1-1. However, throughout the preseason, there were definitely positives, including the newcomers and rookies stepping up when needed.
As evidenced by their roster in their final preseason match, the expected lineup to start the season is as follows:
GK: Stefan Frei
LB: Leo Gonzalez
CB: Brad Evans
CB: Chad Marshall
RB: Tyrone Mears
LM: Marco Pappa
CM: Osvaldo Alonso
CM: Gonzalo Pineda
RM: Lamar Neagle
LF: Clint Dempsey
RF: Obafemi Martins
Once the season gets underway, we will see what tricks that head coach Sigi Schmid has up his sleeve.
The Sounders' first opponent is one that cannot be taken lightly. On March 8th, the Sounders will kick off the 2015 campaign at home against the New England Revolution, the MLS Cup final runner ups (losing in extra time to the LA Galaxy).
The Revolution finished second in the Eastern Conference last year and bring back a very good squad with planty of returners. The two teams faced off in the preseason as well, with the Revolution picking up a 2-1 victory on February 25th. However, a new season brings new expectations for both squads.
If the Sounders play composed and have solid ball movement, they should be able to spark some goals with the striking due of Clint Dempsey and Obafemi Martins. Along with this, the defense needs to keep steady on the back-line; last season, it was the defense that proved to be shaky at times.
If they can play the Sounders way, then expect Seattle to come out with the victory.