Okay, we’ve all settled our bets, we’ve exchanged good-byes and all that is really left is a half-decent press release from the Sounders to consider Fredy Montero “gone”. I guess there will be kind of a mourning period and all but for the most part we’re kind of moving through that. Don’t get me wrong, it’s sad. But we can’t be stuck here forever and considering the quality of a few of the players that the Sounders have reportedly shown interest in, I think it’s safe to say that this move could– at least in the long run– has a chance to show the fans how committed the Sounders are to adding hardware, year-in-and-year-out.
There are, as mentioned, rumours that are floating about here, there and just about everywhere. But considering what is an ever expanding range of interests, I’m quiet impress that we don’t hear/read even more players and reports that the team is connected with or has interest in. It’s more apparent now than ever before, that the Sounders have every intention of making a “splash” whether that be now or in the summer window.
I know a lot of people are frustrated with the lack of player movement after what was kind of forecasted to be possibly the busiest off-season of their short MLS existence, but with the Superdraft coming there is still plenty to wait on and see what happens. January 17th could bring a whole slew of changes to the club. Just a week away there is plenty in that draft that could change the Sounders.
There was a lot of talk during the month of December that they would look long and hard for a fullback. Names such as Taylor Kemp and Kory Kindle have kind of rolled off the tounge rather bittler. Feeling a bit underwhelming for their ceiling but filling a need. However, after time in Vegas with their own mini-camp, most rumblings have them connected with the local Washington Husky product Dylan Tucker-Gangnes. A big tall (6’4) lad that dominates in the box and is a decent passer out of the backfield. I’ve read/heard comparisons to guys such as former Seattle product and FC Dallas centre back George John as well as former-MLS Houston defender Geoff Cameron.
If you aren’t familiar with him watch this nice little highlight reel.
I think the biggest thing I took away from this video (and seeing many, many others) it wasn’t just his ability to dominate aerial balls, but his positioning prior to the ball being delivered and his keen vision preparing for the attack. He also shows a nice ability to return service back up front quickly and seems very aware of his surroundings. You can see in other videos he’s well spoken and in general I just really like the presence he brings. He seems like someone that has a bright future and I’d be excited with this move.
But here are a couple of thoughts beyond just the safe and almost predictable move at this point.
First, there is a ton of rumours about teams moving down in this draft. Ranging from the Crew at #10 and going all the way to Toronto FC and Chivas with the first three picks. There are a handful of potential moves to be made and we’ve seen the Sounder brass not shy away from dealing pieces that set this team up for the long term.
There are a couple of interesting pieces that would be interesting grabs.
Walker Zimmerman is the first of those guys that could make sense for the Sounders and I’ve mentioned this on more than one occasion. But the guy is first rate and, in my opinion, a future US National Team selection.
Another thought, kind of out of left field, is Ryan Finley. Finley is a wild card. A high risk-high reward type of guy that had he not had so much negative clout surrounding him, he could be one of the top picks in the draft. There are a lot of questions surrounding his attitude. But his shear overwhelming talent shines through. I don’t know of anything directly associated with Finley but he was removed from Dukes program back in 2011 and from my understanding there wasn’t a lot of disappointment when he left the Fighting Irish for MLS.
Finley has played a kind of-secondary striker and also a withdrawn forward role which could work well up top with current goal scorer Eddie Johnson.A role that Montero wasn’t too keen on fulfilling.
I suppose you could point to a few other guys that would be worth trading up to get. J.J. Johnson, Andrew Farrell and maybe Deshorn Brown. If the Sounders trade Brad Evans, maybe a Dillon Powers, Jose Gomez (remember his team knocked out the Huskies from Tournament play) or even Mikey Lopez start to make sense in small doses and being acclimated slowly into the league.
But, really there are two guys that I’m intent on getting early. If not I’m alright seeing what A) may fall or B) going with a safe pick. Rarely do you go wrong with a safe pick, it’s kind of why it’s called “a safe pick”.
Though there is one last alternative that is even less considered. The possibility of trading out of the first round entirely.
It’s not as if Tucker-Gangnes is even considered a first round pick by many analyst. Most mock drafts/big boards have him as a early-to-mid 2nd round pick. I wonder if the Sounders couldn’t get a bit of allocation money, another 2nd round pick AND still get their guy. Could be a win-win type of situation. Maybe they don’t even trade down but trade the pick entirely for allocation money or a international slot.
This off-season is going to end up getting crazy really fast if things remain quiet and could imagine that they could culminate in one crazy day next week.