Three takeaway impressions from the Sounders' 2012 home debut, 2-0 win over Jaguares de Chiapas:
1.) The holes have been filed: The Sounders lose Kasey Keller and James Riley and Mike Fucito and Lamar Neagle ... and return this strong? Pretty impressive. Goalkeeper Michael Gspurning wasn't asked to do much tonight in terms of saves -- the only shot on goal was hit pretty much straight at him. However, he seems to be a solid and steady presence back there, and a shutout is a shutout. It's hard to project him as an upgrade considering the guy he's being asked to replace, but it seems probable that keeper will be an area of strength again this season. And there's every reason to believe Adam Johansson could be an improvement at right back. And, if everything breaks right, Eddie Johnson could pair with Fredy Montero to give the club the best forward pairing yet -- and it's had some pretty good ones.
2.) This team is deep and will get deeper: David Estrada is one of the top stories in camp so far, and he seems destined to leave the starting 11 when Eddie Johnson returns. The midfield of Rosales, Alonso, Evans and Fernandez offers real or potential all-stars across the board. For now, that seems to be all that's keeping one of my favorite players from camp -- Christian Sivebaek -- out of the starting lineup. And soon enough -- perhaps sooner than I had imagined -- Steve Zakuani could be added to the mix. A fair case could be made that this will be the deepest team in MLS.
3.) The home field is an advantage: The Sounders organization hasn't done much wrong over its short history, but one of their errors was waiting a season too long to replace the artificial turf -- which was below acceptable standands for a profitable organization last season. However, they've stepped up this season with a new turf which in its debut tonight helped show the beauty of the beautiful game. The ball played true, and the Sounders' passing seemed to reflect their confidence in it.