MLS Is Growing And We Need More Than A Carlos Ruiz

I never know how much detail to really go into when I write.

I mean, well, here is little bit of back story but… over the last year I moved our family into Montgomery after living in the “suburbs” it just cut down a good 45 minute commute down to 10 minutes. Awesome, right? Well… the one down side is I kind of have less time to sit in my car and listen to people (who know more than me) talk about soccer. I unfortunately listen to a lot less podcasts–I love The Best Soccer Show, pretty much brought me from a social fan to one that lives it daily–and I’ve come to kind of miss that aspect.

Anyways, with BSS kind of having their live show yesterday and skipping their mid-week show it’s allowed me to dip my toe in the soccer podcast pool and see what else is out there. I came across another NASN broadcast “The Total Soccer Show”. It’s good, only have an episode and a half under my belt but it’s certainly been entertaining and rather original thus far.

As part of their latest feature, they did a nice rerun of the classic 2002 USA vs. German World Cup Quarter Final match, while running down the starting XI and comparing to the now line-up of Jurgen Klinsmann’s starting XI for the upcoming hex.

First off, it’s amazing that they found this match online but it’s not just this match, you can actually go back and re-watch quiet a few of the matches from the 2002 World Cup classic on youtube.

Second off, these things always lead to little rabbit trails in my mind. I started contemplating: “How will we compare the 2012 version of the Sounders to the 2022 version of the Sounders?”

What’s funny about that is I think that’s like trying to compare the 2002 version of the Galaxy and the 2012 version of the Galaxy. Both good teams. But really I think the league has grown beyond that team. If you stacked the 2002 Galaxy into the mix and played the season over I’m not sure they would fair as well as they did that season. Carlos Ruiz was very good during his time but how does he compare to the Eddie Johnson, Robbie Keane, Chris Wondowlowski.

I won’t get too far into it, but his Fredy-Montero-like-entrance into the league was certainly grand. But, I think it’s generally proof of how weak the league still was at the time and place.It’s grown since then and I am of the belief that guys coming into this league won’t necessarily find immediate success such as 24 or 26 goals in a season. Not without finding top tier talent that is.

MLS is growing and the fact is each year the Sounders must evolve and grow with the rest of the league or be caught up in MLS purgatory with the likes of New England, Toronto and Chivas USA. That means growing the over talent level of the club and going after top names when they are available AND interested.

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A lot of talk is being made over Joan Verdu, 29, of RCD Espanyol. The man from Barcelona and from the famed  FC Barcelona Academy has been a target of the Sounders since this past summer. There has been much celebration and joy when the speculation occurred in July and then again bitter sadness over his choosing not to come to Seattle.

With the departure of Montero to Millonarios, it has renewed the talk of Verdu as a transfer target.

Now of course it’s highly unlikely as he has legit suitors in Europe right now with his form and the Sounders have little to no chance to capture the valuable attacking midfielder. But the idea was right just thing turned out wrong. A guy with plenty of experience on the later part of his prime years that could immediately contribute to the club.

Slowly people are going to realize–and, really it’s already happening–that the Espanyol cog won’t be joining the Seattle side. But what they need to understand is that there is there than just a piece.

It’s no longer about finding these young unproven talents, such as the Galaxy and Carlos Ruiz or even Fredy Montero. It’s about finding guys with all that talent that have come into their own and are playing consistently well.

During and shortly after the playoffs all the talk was on the Sounders needing to find more weathered pieces, that were consistent and of the same quality and mold as Donovan and Keane, as it was the only way for the club to compete on the same level.

Really, I don’t believe that. In fact I would say in a lot of ways that’s a terrible idea.

We have those experienced pieces already and they enhance the value already out on the pitch. Guys like Mauro Rosales and Eddie Johnson have been invaluable to the Sounders in the past 6 months. But, what they don’t need is a 34 year old striker– as Keane–, so they can one day win a cup.

I’ll be the first to concede the fact that they do need “someone“.

I love Carlos “Darwin” Quintero for Santos Laguna. Total pipe dream. But hey, when the word is that no one in Mexico is out of the price range. Let’s talk and while we’re on the subject of Santos Languna, they got former Sounder USL-PRO star, and current USMNT striker Herculez Gomez who is potentially on the transfer block, with yet another set of rumours that have him headed out. I know that he kind of fits the “Keane” model but his work rate, in a Sigi system… Ugh..he’d really be perfect.

Again, they just need someone.

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As I eluded to previously; the MLS talent pool is only getting better and while I think the Sounders are well off to start the Season they can’t–and obviously won’t—stand by and do nothing. You can see by the moves that were made by squads such as Colorado, Montreal and even Toronto, it’s not just the clubs in marquee cities (i.e. L.A., New York, ect) that are getting deeper. It’s around the league.

The club as a whole is going to go up against a tougher league next year. While they are (mostly) minor improvements over last year, it is none the less better. The Sounders need to continue to target those high calibre players to bring them into the league.It’s not about trying to grow the league anymore, it’s already at that point, now it’s about trying to stay ahead of the curve.

I want trophies and I want the Sounders to put together a team that is going to compete for every single trophy we are eligible for year-in-and-year-out and that’s what I see them doing. Even if they don’t get Verdu, they are on the right track. I like the guys they’re connected too and it shows they are at least trying the right path.

It’s about guys that can help this team right now and even down the road, rather than strictly trying to develop them and then integrate them into the system.

Topics: Carlos Ruiz, Eddie Johnson, Fredy Montero, Joan Verdú, Jurgen Klinsmann, Mauro Rosales

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