The Factors in Seattle Sounders FC's playoff berth
The Sounders made the MLS playoffs in their first year in the league, and its about time certain players got the credit thats due to them, for better or worse. Of course the team wouldn't have done what they did had they been carrying a bunch of losers, so obviously the assets outway the detriments. Go ahead and click on, and see what players were valuable and what players held the team back. Oh, and don't worry Seattle fans. You haven't been forgotten, I just figured the support was an unspoken plus.
Valuable Asset 1: Kasey Keller
I think every member of the Sounders fandom knows that Kasey is a great goalie. Even then, I think its quite possible that the man is undervalued. Averaging under a goal per game when his team has won all but four of the games they've scored first in is crucial. He has acted as team captain and played the role to perfection, especially after disappointing losses. I say we let him play as long as the geezer wants to play.
Valuable Asset 2: Fredy Montero
Montero went through all sorts of ups and downs, going from scoring three goals in his first two games to being accused of rape and not scoring again for weeks. He hit another lul in the clincher against Kansas, missing a couple of easy shots. That said, he has been the guy for the Sounders when they've needed a goal, and is by far their biggest threat from outside the box.
Valuable Asset 3: Freddie Ljungberg
Fredy and Freddie almost have to be talked about together. Almost any conversation involving one involves the other. Freddie may not have had the captain armband, but the team did not play the same when he was out with migranes or card issues.
Valuable Asset 4: Osvaldo Alonso
Like Ljundberg, this team didn't function nearly as well when Alonso was out. The subject of early MVP talk, Alonso was arguably the best player in terms of ball handling, passing, and assists.
Valuable Asset 5: James Riley
I grew up as an american football fan, which is probably why whenever I see Riley play defense I see Marcus Trufant. Whenever he picks off a pass I immediately see interception. Riley is this teams star cornerback, and I hope this team retains him for years to come.
Valuable Asset 6: Tyrone Marshall
Marshall was the glue that held a relatively inexperienced defensive group together. Like Freddie and Osvaldo for the midfield, the defense just didn't play to the same level without the old man of the bunch.
Valuable Asset 7: Leo Gonzalez
Leo came in halfway through the season and immediately solidified the left side of the field after a valiant job by his predecessor (more on him later). His biggest contribution may have been on offense, where he was able to steal balls and push them up the field quickly, especially on crosses.
Valuable Asset 8: Sebastian Le Toux
It's a travesty that this site doesn't have a picture of Le Toux in the database. Is there a better bench player in the league? Whenever Le Toux entered a game, the momentum immediately blew in the Sounders favor. He supplied such an energy to every game he played in that I'm shocked he didn't take more playing time from one of the goats of this slideshow.
Valuable Asset 9: Steve Zakuani
The first pick in the MLS superdraft, Zakuani quickly made a case for a starting position with his quick feet and strong leg. Beating defenders 1-1 became more a tradition than an occurrence.
Valuable Asset 10: Sigi Schmid
The Sounders would not be the Sounders without Sigi. The winningest coach in MLS history took his first chance to put his own team together from scratch and turned it into an Open Cup and a playoff berth. I'm excited to see what he does with this team next year and in years to come, as he joins a league of Seattle coaches including Mike Holmgren, Lenny Wilkens, and Lou Pinella
Some players only got a few oppourtunities to make a difference, but should be recognized nonetheless. Remember Ianni's bicycle kick goal? What about Levesques open cup winner? How about the stellar play by Tyson Wahl before Gonzalez took over at the position? Perhaps the best part of the season was watching the little guys make big plays.
Goat 1: Peter Vagenas
Vagenas is undoubtably the most overpaid player on the team. Supposedly he manages a game well, but any touches that go to Vagenas almost inevitably end in disaster, and net to never result in any sort of gain. His passes make him seem colorblind, his clearances don't leave his personal space, and he is a complete liability on defense. Play anybody in his position, just not Pete.
Goat 2: Nate Jaqua
You wouldn't know by watching him that he had the second most goals on the team. He can't head the ball, he can't pass the ball, he can't outrun defenders, and for a guy his size, he sure gets bullied off the ball a lot. The team would be better served playing Le Toux or Levesque throughout the postseason. He actually seemed to play well before the friendly against Chelsea, but since then he has not been the same player.