Here’s some of what Seattle general manager Garth Lagerwey had to say this week in the hours ticking down to the MLS SuperDraft on Thursday:
On his hopes for the draft) We hope to make our team better. I mean that broadly; whether that means making a trade or picking a player that ultimately makes us better.
On if there could be a contributor at No. 15) Yeah it could be. I think it’s all part of stocking our player-development system. We’re trying to make our academy system even better than it is. You saw we added some staff there earlier this week with some guys we’re really excited about. If you look at that player-development pipeline, are we going to acquire talent in the draft that could help us long-term? Yes. As to whether they’re going to contribute on the first team right away, I think that’s going to depend on a whole bunch of things: health, position. It’s difficult to say, ‘We’re going to fill this need with this player.’ We’re going to take the best player available and then we’re going to see how they go through our system.
Qualities of this draft class) I think it’s a little light on the attacking side. I think it’s a little heavy on the defense and midfield. I think it’s a little light at the top, but it goes for a while. So we’ll see. I’ve done enough of these drafts to say you can also have some crazy stuff that happens when you’re all in a room together and then everything you thought about the draft is going to play out a little different.
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On liking a player enough to trade up) I don’t think so. I don’t think there’s a Roldan-type scenario where we have a guy that we target and we kind of make inquiries as he drops. That’s what happened with Roldan until we found a match. I don’t think there’s somebody like that that we’ve targeted. I think there’s a group of players that we like maybe a little bit more than the larger group…. But a lot can still happen.
On local guys available) I think there are going to be some UDub kids picked for sure.
On if team is still looking for defense and midfield) I think. If you look at the draft’s strengths and you look at our team, we have a number of young players up front as well as some big guns. So I think probably for us it makes more sense to look farther back on the field. That said, we are steadfast in taking the best player available, and if that player is an attacking talent, then we’re going to do it.
On Jordan Morris and implications of his uncertainty on Sounders draft) I’ll just say Jordan is going through his process. We respect that he is going through his process. We hope that ultimately he’ll sign with the Sounders. But it’s out of our control. But we think we’ve put our best foot forward. We think we have a good relationship with Jordan and his family, and we hope it comes to a positive conclusion for us. Beyond that speculating about things that might or might not ever happen … the only thing that matters right now is how it ends. We’ll be hopeful and optimistic until we’re told otherwise.
On more moves before camp) It depends on the outcome of the draft. It depends if you trade anybody that has salary-cap implications. It depends on who you draft: Are they GA or are they not. Are they foreign or are they not. And what are the impacts of that on the rest of the roster. Do I expect something will happen the week after? We have some things that are possible next week, but it depends on what happens on Thursday.
On comfort with where roster stands right now) It doesn’t matter how it gets done as long as it gets done. No one is judging your team on Jan. 12. First of all they’re going to be judged on Feb. 23. I think with how we built this team, it’s a team that’s going to improve over the course of the season. We’re going to have a lot of young players in supporting roles. We’re going to need to be patient with those players, nurture those players, build them up, and hopefully they grow. Not all of them will, but some of them will. And that’s what you’re hoping. You’re hopefully you’ll be judged on whether or not you win. At the end of the day, that’s what it comes down to.