There is no perfect roster formula in MLS, with its restrictive salary cap. Teams attempt to plot a wise course and then hope for the best.
Last year, Seattle leaned into depth. They wanted a team that could compete for multiple trophies (while also performing at top rev in a few lucrative, high-profile friendlies), and wanted the cushion for potential injuries. So they assembled a team about 20-or-so strong in genuine starting candidates.
Management made the choice for 2013 to adjust the Sounder way in player personnel, bracing the roster’s front end, desiring to put the bulk of the money in the top 14-15 roster spots.
Again, there isn’t a right or wrong way – there are just ways that work out or don’t, somewhat contingent on fate.
Well, Seattle may be fine as the league’s longest regular season yet stretches forward, but they are starting out a little stretched due to injury. That, of course, is the danger to thinning out the roster a little.
Here is the whole kit and caboodle from Seattle manager Sigi Schmid’s post-game chat last night as he talked about the surprising loss, courtesy of Seattle Times’ always-on-the-job writer Joshua Mayers. And here’s an excerpt on him talking about the player availability issue:
Leo [Gonzalez] has been playing left back for us, so [Marc] Burch being out, it wouldn’t have changed our lineup. [Pat] Ianni being injured, [Adam] Johansson being injured, Estrada being injured, Neagle not being available. Those definitely affected things in terms of our lineup and our lineup choices. This group has played together. They played together against Veracruz, as well.
“I think they know and we know we have to be better. Our quality of crossing wasn’t very good today. We hit too many people with crosses. Every time we were looking to cross the ball, it seemed we hit somebody instead of getting the ball around them or past them. Against a team like Montreal that likes to pack the middle, you have to get behind them and you gotta have quality service in behind them, and we didn’t do that often enough. Finally at the end, Sammy Ochoa slid into one, and that was one of the few balls that got behind their back two.”