Sounder at Heart Archives for January 2009

James Riley - A fiery man

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As we move into the Starting player recaps from the previous season, and their future in the league, we shall start with James Riley, Right Back. He is a fiery man to quote Mitch Levy (of course he was not referring to Riley). James' temper on the pitch is short, and he inspires passions amongst the fanbase.

Unloved Rotationals: Vagenas and Ianni

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The first two rotationals were loved companions from an old club in a minor league. The French Connection was the Sounders connection between old and new. One has been taken from us. But these two a Peter and a Patrick. One constantly derided on forums, and the other seen as surprisingly protected over a loved MLS Sounder - James Riley.

Goodbye and Thank You, Seba

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The Philadelphia Union released their expansion draft picks and many Sounders fans will be sadden to see the very first MLS Sounder on the list. While names such as James Riley and Stephen King were heard quite often in the speculation leading up to the announcement today, Le Toux didn't figure much in the discussion.

On Formations and Fullbacks

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Or: Why James Riley Was Left Unprotected

You'll probably need some understanding of the formation aspect of soccer strategy before reading. Wikipedia is a good resource, and if you've watched many Sounders games you'll have picked up quite a lot of information as well. Sorry in advance for the English spelling.

Sounders release list of players protected in the upcoming expansion draft

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Jose Romero Reports

List of players:

Alonso, Osvaldo
Evans, Brad
Gonzalez, Leo
Hurtado, Jhon Kennedy
Ianni, Patrick
Jaqua, Nate
Keller, Kasey
Ljungberg, Freddie
Marshall, Tyrone
Montero, Fredy
Zakuani, Steve

Interesting that Riley was left off the list.

The Cost vs Quality Conumdrum

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The 2009 MLS season is now in the books, and a final long on quantity (120 minutes plus penalties), but short on quality has crowned Real Salt Lake the champions. I'm sure the streets of Salt Lake City will be in full Rio Carnaval mode well into the middle of the day. Elsewhere, GMs around the league will roll into their offices and continue the process of building their teams so they can take RSL's place on the podium next year.

Refereeing and What To Do About It

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Referees have once again made their way into the headlines and for once MLS has no apologies to make. In the second leg of a UEFA World Cup Qualification playoff, Thierry Henry made a vital assist, crossing across the face of goal to William Gallas' head to score the tying goal. The goal pulled France level in the match and ahead 2-1 on aggregate.

Out for Supporter Summit and Cup Final Activities

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CarlosT will be posting a story or two here and Sunday morning I may be able to finish my write-up on Vagenas and Ianni. I may not make my old deadline, but I will do what I can.

If you aren't going to the Supporters Summit you will be able to watch the Summit Proper at MLSNet.com (1PM EST/10AM PST) in its live stream tomorrow.

USL Rotationals - Levesque and Le Toux

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There were some around the Sounders message boards and blogs that thought I underrated the USL players. At the end of the year though, none were starters. But one fell from being a starter (though likely just due to the health of other players) and another worked his way up from token nod to the past to becoming a key player on the club during the last third of the season.

Player Reviews Nyassi and Wahl

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I have referred to these two as Substitutes in my tiering of Starter, Rotational, Substitute and Reserves, but honestly, Nathan Sturgis likely belongs here as well. All three are almost always on the available bench, but rarely see time. In Sanna's case he is still quite young, just entering the years where he would make or break in the US system.

Rest of the Reserves - Graham, Scott, Sturgis, King

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Now we start entering the realm of players with playing time. Of guys that may have value to other clubs in trade, and quite possibly seeing the guy that Philadelphia takes in the Expansion Draft later this month. This collection of players are in two sets.

The first set are two USL Sounders, and the second two players are young talents with promise, but who have lacked the playing time to showcase their reputations in competitive matches.

The Other Keepers

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As in the guys that aren't Mr Kasey Keller. Due to injuries Keller played essentially all competitive matches. Next year with the potential for a dozen more matches in the season and Kasey passing 40 in just a few days the back-up keeper will be much more important. While he does feel healthier at the end of this season than in the past, he made many statements that it was due to the nature of MLS playing basically once a week.

Leg One Learnings

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There are a few things we learned from the frustrating result Thursday. In ways they will influence how we watch and appreciate the Sounders performance on the road next Sunday. In other ways, they may be the same learnings that Sigi had in watching the film twice before an 11:30AM practice Friday.

MLS Cup Final on Field Turf

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Yes, MLS fans, despite all that is right with this league you still get your opportunity to bitch and moan. Qwest Field will be Field Turf for the Cup Final, as the temporary sod would have been unsafe for players.

- MLS worked very closely with the Qwest Field and Sounders FC staff to analyze all of the options to bring in temporary natural grass for MLS Cup at Qwest Field.

It wouldn't be 2nd tier without Portland

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Well, it looks like the NuRock v TOA saga is continuing, but only a little bit, while the USL-1 meetings are being held in Beaverton, OR this week.

With the following teams certainly there - Rochester, Portland, Tampa Bay, Puerto Rico, FC New York, Cleveland and Austin.

The TOA clubs, may or may not be - Vancouver, Montreal, St Louis, Miami, Atlanta, Tampa, Carolina, Minnesota.

Keys to 2nd Leg at Houston Dynamo

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Being wary of repeating oneself, I still have to think about how this team in Rave Green plays. When are they at their best, and when do they struggle? The defining moments of this season likely indicate what the needs are, and the previous four matches now against Houston can show us a few trends in how Kinnear and Schmid see the opposition.

Gamethread for Leg 2 - Sounders @ Dynamo

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Win or Go Home

The deciding game of a two leg aggregate when the first leg ended in a tie of nil-nil. An important reminder. There is no away goal rule, so if the 90 ends in a tie we go to extra time of two 15 minute halves. From there it goes to PKs in the 5 and 5 format to start.

I want more!

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Sure, it was a loss. It doesn't feel good. About 100 people traveled, and they are hurt just a bit more maybe. It was a performance that could not be called a good loss. Seattle Sounders FC was outplayed in nearly every aspect of the match. If not for Leo Gonzalez and Kasey Keller this could have been a 5 to nil thrashing.

Rights Controlled Players

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In Major League Soccer a team can control the rights to a player even if they are unsigned. Below you will see capsules of the players for which the Sounders control their rights, but who did not see much time, nor are they under contract for 2010.

These are players who for one reason or another the Sounders will not likely use for their next season, but who might have minor value to other teams in the league.

Pro-Soccer in North America Expands

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Yes, this is more on the TOA v NuRock battle. After the USL announcement that they would be expanding to Baltimore, to Detroit, to Ottawa and Edmonton on top of their previous plans of New York city and Tampa Bay the TOA responded with a formal announcement that they would be apply for 2nd tier status in the USA and 1st tier status in Canada.

Veteran's Day '09

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Many who read this blog know me personally. They know my past, my passions and my current job. Those that don't might not understand that the reason that I will be working on arrangements for the Supporters Summit, and contacting people in the TOA, the USL and MLS concerning the drama of pro-soccer in North America is because I don't work on Veteran's Day.

Lightly Used Developmental Players

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These are the young gentleman who saw time against Chelsea and Barcelona, and sparse minutes during the Open Cup, but did not see time in league play. Impressions of these players are strongest for those that have the opportunity to see practice, or have talked to those that have. As Developmental Players their small contracts don't count against the cap, but they also tend to have second jobs as well.

Missed Opportunities

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On May 26th, 2009 the whole world found out that this player would be available on a free transfer:

For those of you not familiar with him, Juninho Pernambucano is probably the world's best free kick taker. Give him a free kick within 35 yards and you're facing a very dangerous situation.

It wouldn’t be 2nd tier without Portland

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Well, it looks like the NuRock v TOA saga is continuing, but only a little bit, while the USL-1 meetings are being held in Beaverton, OR this week. With the following teams certainly there - Rochester, Portland, Tampa Bay, Puerto Rico, FC New York, Cleveland and Austin. The TOA clubs, may or may not be Vancouver, [.

MLS Cup Final on Field Turf

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Yes, MLS fans, despite all that is right with this league you still get your opportunity to bitch and moan. Qwest Field will be Field Turf for the Cup Final, as the temporary sod would have been unsafe for players. - MLS worked very closely with the Qwest Field and Sounders FC staff to analyze [...]

Leg One Learnings

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There are a few things we learned from the frustrating result Thursday. In ways they will influence how we watch and appreciate the Sounders performance on the road next Sunday. In other ways, they may be the same learnings that Sigi had in watching the film twice before an 11:30AM practice Friday.