Tuesday, December 02, 2008

A look at Seattle's slew

I feel kind of sorry for the Seattle Sounders.

I know, I know. They've sold like 8,456,981 season tickets already. They signed one of the best American goalkeepers in Kasey Keller over the summer. For sex appeal, and maybe a few goals, they brought in Freddie Ljungberg. The Price is Right pimp/Whose Line? attention whore/comedian Drew Carey is a minority owner.

Okay, so maybe I don't feel that badly for them.

But I did cringe a bit when viewed their expansion selections. I know that each club's unprotected lists has about as much collective talent as a dead ferret, so the Sounders' potential pickings were pretty slim.

I mean Jeff Parke? Really? Maybe a memo was mishandled, but the Sounders knew that he was suspended for taking performance enhancers. Right? And even if you bought the whole "I didn't know what was in them" defense, why would a club want to welcome the kind of negative attention Parke will surely bring with him when his suspension expires next spring?*

(*I'm stopping the tangent right there. I could go on. I WANT to go on. No. Deep breath. Must...fight...the...urge..!)

Anyway, those silly Sounders also picked up former Revolution M/D James Riley. I'm not criticisizing the selection, but rather, must make mention of it because this is the second consecutive expansion draft that Riley's been picked. Doesn't anybody want James Riley?

Among the other notables is former Toronto forward Jarrod Smith, who had the uncanny distinction of scoring in his MLS debut earlier this year, then closing the account immediately thereafter. Way to keep that "potential" tag hanging over your head, Jarrod!

Of course, the selections weren't all of the dubious nature. The addition of veteran Peter Vagenas was a shrewd selection. Given his adept play in L.A.'s central midfield for the past nine seasons, he'll likely be called to steer the ship in Seattle. Plus, he's won a pair of championships (in 2002 and 2005), which only furthers his resume on what will likely be a fairly young club.

The addition of Nate Jacqua is intriguing. Okay, maybe not Twilight* intrigiuing, but, you know...intriguing. The recent MLS vagabond has scored goals wherever he's gone. Should he remain with the Sounders for - gasp! - an MLS entire season, he'll likely give them solid play at striker. Plus, he and Vagenas were briefly teammates in early-2007. This will, on paper, aid the Sounders on the attack early on. Should this translate to the FieldTurf at Qwest Field, the Sounders may look pretty good before we know it.

(*Am I like one of maybe seven people who haven't either seen the movie, read the book, or know what the heck it's about? Whatever the exact number is, I just know I'm in the minority. All I know is that it's about vampires. But that's it. I attribute this deficit of pop culture knowledge to a perpetual cycle of homework. That, and I'm FINALLY finishing off "The Ball is Round: A Global History of Soccer" - a book I actually planned to finish before the summer. Yeah, not so much. I'm on page 781...of 992.)

I admit. The selections aren't all bad. I suppose they made due with the resources available to them.

Of course, some of the players picked may not make it beyond the winter. Some may find themselves traded away for SuperDraft selections. Others may simply know the role of preseason fodder, take the training per diem, then carry on to another club before the start of the season.

But on the whole, the truth of the matter is that Sounders now have a roster, however small, to tinker with. And right now, that's alot better than what they had last Tuesday.


Because this is only the second time I've mentioned the Sounders, I think it's best to also speak on how DOPE BOY FRESH those neon green kits are. Neon green. In MLS. They must have also missed the memo that all MLS teams shall wear either blue, dark blue, and/or red.

For the past two years, I've wondered aloud why more teams don't break the red and blue mold and go for a more unique scheme. The pre-Beckham Galaxy had a great combo of forest green and gold. The Rapids have a nice purple and gray strip. Real Salt Lake has infused gold into their otherwise drab blue and red scheme.

I hope that the shock of neon green carries over to future expansion clubs. Because I swear if Philadelphia comes out in bland navy or red (or both) come 2010, I will be forced to wish myself permanently colorblind.

Do the right thing, Philly. Don't make me a casualty.

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