Sunday was a disappointing defeat and not the way we hoped the season would. Bottom line is Seattle just were not as good as LA over the two games. Galaxy did a great job of controlling the midfield and forcing Zakuani inside and taking away the speed down the outside that has worked so well over the last couple of months.
Seattle were beaten by the best team in the league this year, both sides had chances; the difference was LA put them away. LA were aided by some poor defending on set pieces, Beckhams precision deliveries and as is typical with any Bruce Arena coached teams, they were a very disciplined and well drilled team. The Seattle back four seemed to struggle adjusting to players with speed coming across the penalty area, I think the loss of Parke was felt, especially by Ilani
It’s been a great season no matter how you look at it. Qualifying for the group stage of the CONCACAF Champions League, retaining the Open Cup (best moment of the year for me), beating last years points total and of course the others that have made the atmosphere in RBP second to none in this league.
Most supporters get this is a business for those in change, but fans don’t support businesses. They support clubs and the ownership has done the right things to make it a feel like a club that the fans are an organic part of.
The first half of the year was a little rough (the World Cup and Englands performance did not help me feeling positive either), but Sigi and the owners did what they had to do to make this team competitive in the second half. Ownership has set clear expectations for performance on the pitch and I believe that if the right player were to come along (or Montero, or perhaps Zakuani) the money would be available to bring them in as the third DP.
There are two big questions hanging over this club and the current squad. First is the expansion draft in a couple of weeks. The team gets to protect 10 players and a further player should they loose one to either of the two expansion team. Last year there was something of an outcry as James Riley was left unprotected, but Philadelphia went with Seb La Toux, who had a great year in their system and really showed the quality we’d seen at the USL level in 07 and 08.
So in the expansion draft the team is going to loose at least one, possibly two players as Portland and Vancouver build their squads.
Zakuani puts it wide against Toronto
Second is the status of the top players. Montero and Zakuani are both on the radar screen of European clubs and I’d not be surprised if at least one is gone in the transfer window in January.
There is a not a lot of transparency around contracts in this league, I don’t think anyone on the outside really knows Montero’s contract status, there are a couple of groups that own his rights, including (I believe) the Sounders in some way. I’ve said before and still think he’s got the potential to be a superstar in this game. That means Europe, and probably January, next summer at the latest.
Montero has been vague and made no commitments to next year with Seattle. Zakuani has made similar “wait and see what happens” noises.
Zakuani has a huge upside, there are is a dearth of fast left-sided players in England right now and his speed would give him a lot of value there. He’s made a good name for himself and the British press has mentioned him a couple of times, even once linking him to Capello and the national squad.
Loosing both these players would be a huge blow for Seattle, it may mean letting one go and offering the other enough money through the third DP tag (assuming Fernandez is a DP next year rather than just a squad player, again little transparency on the contract thing).
Kasey clapclap Keller
On the bright side Keller has been clear he wants to be back for one more year, I assume that can be done fairly easily. I think both Nfuko and Fernandez are under contract to the sounders for next year.
Lastly for today, Sigi, mid year one or two lone voices were calling for his replacement, he has proven to be one of the best coaches in the league. He said last week “I love it here,” he said. “I love the city. I love the team. I love my ownership group. I love the fans. I don’t mean to be redundant, but that’s how I feel. For me this is a place to stay and finish and coach for a long, long time.”
Thanks for a fun year at RBP, it’s been awesome.