In the hours before the start of their third preseason camp Tuesday morning, technical director Chris Henderson gave this overview:
“We were able to bring in Erik Friberg from Sweden that will help us with the (losses at midfield). We’re pretty happy with our draft.With the draft and the invited players and some other foreign players we brought in, it’s going to be tough competition because there really aren’t going to be a lot of roster spots open -- which is great for the club. So, we feel good about it. We wanted to get some depth at different positions behind some starters, and I think we accomplished that. We’ll see this week now with the veteran players. We’ve had some of the rookies in training, but I think when you see how they stack up against the veteran returning players then you really see where they are and how much development they need. We were happy to get a couple of good solid goalkeepers with (Bryan) Meridith and (Josh) Ford in. So they will be able to compete for that third spot as well. ”
It strikes me that there were more significant additions and subtractions this offseason than than the one before, when the Sounders practically returned their previous team intact (aside from the major loss of Sebastien Le Toux).
That is due largely to the double-expansion draft and a new re-entry veteran draft that cost the Sounders midfielders Nathan Sturgis and Sanna Nyassi and defender Tyrone Marshall. That trio started 26, 23 and 22 games respectively last season.
Those losses – especially in midfield – led Seattle to concentrate on restocking with college, veteran and international players.
The club used its first pick in the SuperDraft – No. 20 overall – on Michael Terreh, a defender/midfielder from Ghana who attended UC Santa Barbara. With its other seven picks in the super- and supplemental drafts, the club also added one midfielder/forward, two midfielders, two defenders and two goalkeepers.
“It’s never perfect until you have them in training and you see how guys do,” coach Sigi Schmid said after the SuperDraft. “Some guys adjust very quickly, some guys adapt, and some guys move on. But in terms of addressing our needs … we were able to do that.”
The two rookie keepers and veteran Terry Boss will compete only for the two backup jobs, as 19-year veteran Kasey Keller signed a contract extension that will keep him on for his third season as the Sounders’ No. 1 keeper.
Meanwhile, midfielder Brad Evans and defender Jhon Kennedy-Hurtado, who each missed most of last season due to injury, have been cleared to begin full training.The club also moved to strengthen each line by adding these veteran pros: forward O’Brian White (Toronto FC), midfielder Erik Friberg (BK Hacken of Sweden) and defender Danny Earls (Colorado Rapids).
However, one acquisition that would have turned the heads of the soccer world apparently will not happen.
On Monday, the club released a statement from general manager Adrian Hanauer shooting down international rumors that Seattle was negotiating for the services of Uruguayan striker Diego Forlan. (See post below.)