Did you miss us? We sure as hell missed all of you!
For us, the offseason pretty much ends the second the MLS schedule comes out. Lots of planning, tons of work to get ready for the upcoming season, and, of course, warming up those vocal chords and pogo muscles.
And while we've been doing all of that, Adrian Hanauer and crew have been busy dealing with the fallout of a season without silverware: Salary Cap. With no silverware and the allocation dollars that go with it, the Sounders were forced to make some fairly drastic moves to fit under the cap.
Gone is defensive stalwart Jeff Parke, who wrote the other day to say: "Sorry it's taken me a little while to get a message to everyone. I just want to take the time and thank the Seattle Sounders organization and all the Sounders fans. My time/experience in Seattle was wonderful! I will cherish the memories and experiences for the rest of my life. The organization is first class and the ECS/fans are truly amazing! I wish the fans and club the very best in the future and look forward to seeing you all soon. Thank you." Parke was traded to Philadelphia for a bag of doughnuts. They were pretty good doughnuts, but it left us a hole in defense. (See what I did there? Hole? Doughnut? Timbits?)
Also gone is the mercurial and enigmatic Fredy Montero. (You ever notice that the adjectives mercurial and enigmatic are almost ALWAYS applied to athletes? Usually good or great athletes...but ones that make you want to rip your hair out sometimes? Yeah, that's why we used them.) Montero, scorer of the first goal in Sounders FC's MLS history, scorer of unbelievable goals to salvage or earn points in matches against Portland and Vancouver, and top goal scorer in Sounders MLS history, was sent out on loan to Millionarios. While it was positioned as a loan, it's extremely likely that Fredy won't be coming back to Seattle.
As of this writing, the promising Christian Tiffert hasn't been spotted in training for over a month, and while initially described as "recovering from a knock" is now being openly discussed by everyone except the front office as "target to be bought out to free up a DP slot." More news on this as it develops, but if they're planning on letting Tiffert go, they need to do so before 2 March.
With those three big pieces off the board, it's been observed that there's a lot of holes to fill.
On the upside, once-nightmare-opponent Shalrie Joseph was picked up from Chivas in what can only be called a Gomez Addams deal. "We can't give you anything for him." "OK, take Joseph, a few draft picks, and we'll pay his salary, then." One seriously wonders if there's some bizarre game of Brewster's Millions going on down in Los Angeles, but for the time being, the idea of a rejuvenated Shalrie Joseph and our beloved Honey Badger makes some of glad we're not opposing attacking midfielders.
Also seen in camp, and during the winning of the Desert Diamond Cup (it's like an ickle Cascadia Cup. Bless) have been a revolving door of trialists, homegrowns, and draft picks, including Sisqo (Travis Bowen and Sisqo: Separated at birth?), Rufio (Homegrown player DeAndre Yedlin), and a really, really angry Jamaican that plays like a missile (Ashani Fairclough.)
Longtime Brougham Faithful EricGi writes:
"First time we host the Impact since 2008 playoffs (2-1 win for the good guys). For those of you who pre-date the MLS Sounders, this matchup always got a bit chippy, and the Impact had a bit of a... reputation for being less than classy (not just towards us, as the scum down south can tell you as well). In fact, the coach at the time went a bit... aggro on a blogger outside the locker room!
This fixture dates from 1994 so plenty of history (well, as history goes in north american footy) between these two sides. Most notably, the 2004 A-League final won in Montreal by the Impact 2-0, a Roger Levesque late winner in the 2005 playoffs to exact revenge on the way to a USL-1 championship, then the Impact overturning a deficit to put us out of the playoffs in 2008 in our last match in USL-1.
Then we have last year where we had quite arguably our worst performance of the year in a comprehensive defeat at Stade Saputo's re-opening, and once and now-again Sounder Lamar Neagle on the scoresheet.
Think we're going to see a rather defensive-minded Montreal side, but hopefully we can force them out of their shell and open the game up a bit.
Alonso and Burch are suspended, remember, so the XI will be a bit of guesswork."
Last, but certainly not least, we're still involved in ensuring that the Cascadia Cup remains firmly in the hands of the supporters in Cascadia. You can help by joining your local supporter group, and letting MLS and the soccer world know through Twitter, Facebook, and other places (two poles anyone?) that you are concerned about this issue.
Things are still in flux, and we're not certain who's going to be on the final opening day roster. But it doesn't matter, really, does it? We'll be there. You'll be there, in person or in spirit. And we'll all be willing the Boys in Green to the first victory in the 2013 MLS campaign.
Saturday, 2 March, 2013 - RBP (CenturyLink Field)
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