We also got a few minutes on the phone today with new Sounders central defender Chad Marshall. Here's what he had to say:
On what he's heard from other Standford alums about Sounders: Taylor Graham has always spoken highly of the club. It seems like a club that’s willing to do anything to win. He says the city’s great: very passionate fans, lots to do there. I’m excited to get there and see what it’s all about.
On his current form compared with his Best XI seasons of 2008 and ’09: I still feel like I’m in top form. I kind of pride myself on my consistency and my play. I felt like I had a good year for the Crew last year. I’m hoping to bring that to Seattle. There’s been a lot of change in the Crew obviously since the defender-of-the-year years, so I’m excited to get some stability. I kind of had a different center back partner every year since 2006, actually, so it will be nice to get some stability and have that going forward.
On changes at center back as the league has changed: I think it’s changed a bunch since my first year. When I came in in 2004 there were only 10 teams. There are a lot more players in the league now. You’re playing certain teams maybe only one time a year now, so you’re getting different looks each week, whereas maybe back in the day you played the same teams four times so you got used to forwards. And as the league has grown, obviously bigger names have been brought in, better players, so it definitely makes it more demanding on center backs.
On playing at CenturyLink Field: I’m super-exited to play at CenturyLink in front of that atmosphere. I had the pleasure of doing that a few times with the Crew there. It was always incredible. I can only imagine it’s even more incredible when they’re on your side.
On his role with Sounders: I haven’t had the opportunity actually to talk to any of the other center backs. I only know they through playing against them. It will be nice to get to know them, see what their philosophies on the position are, what their tendencies are. But nothing’s really been shared to me about the plan or anything. I’ve just been told that they’re excited to have me and I look forward to contributing to the team in any way I can.
On his health: This past year I was pretty healthy. I played in 30 of the 34 games. They year before that I had an ankle thing going on that I had taken care of in the off-season heading into this past season. I feel good now. I didn’t have to have any maintenance scope or anything done this offseason, so I kind of got after my off-season program a week after our season ended. I’ve been going good with that, feeling healthy, so I’m looking for a productive 2014.
On being reunited with a more experienced Brad Evans: I’m excited to play with Brad again. Obviously he’s doing great with his career, representing the national team and obviously becoming a leader with the Sounders. I’m excited to work with him again. I think he’s a great pro, and still at a young age. I’m excited to get back with him after a five-year hiatus.
On being reunited with coach Sigi Schmid: Obviously we had a successful time with Sigi in Colubus when he was here, and myself included with that, being defender of the year in 2008 and the year after he left, 2009. I’m excited to work with him again. He’s a very demanding coach and I think he gets the best out of his players.
On playing in front of new Sounders keeper Stefan Frei: He’s a good young goalkeeper. Obviously he had some back luck with the injuries. I’m excited to work with him in the backfield for the Seattle Sounders.