Seattle Sounders: 10 takeaways from 2023 MLS SuperDraft
By Paul Taylor
When it comes to their history in the MLS SuperDraft, there is no doubting the best pick the Seattle Sounders ever made. That would be a certain Cristian Roldan.
Expected to be taken early in the the 2015 draft, Roldan was somehow still available when it was the Sounders' turn to select with the 16th pick. They didn't need to be asked twice.
The 27-year-old has gone on to become a mainstay in the Rave Green midfield. His resume includes two MLS Cups in four final appearances and being part of the lineup which won the 2022 CONCACAF Champions League.
Heading into the 2023 MLS SuperDraft there were various predictions about who Seattle might pick, including some possibilities by Sounders Nation's Elliot Reeder. Here are 10 takeaways from what was an eventful day for the Sounders:
We take a look at what the Seattle Sounders did at the 2023 MLS SuperDraft, including finding out more about their two draft picks Eythor Bjorgolfsson and Blake Bowen.
1) At ninth overall in the draft, the Sounders had their highest natural position since selecting first overall in 2009 ahead of their inaugural MLS season. However, they decided to trade it to St. Louis City SC, in exchange for $175,000 in 2023 General Allocation Money (GAM) and the 59th pick in the draft.
2) As per Dave Clark of Sounder at Heart, the trade takes Seattle to around $1m of combined budget space via GAM, Targeted Allocation Money and open salary budget space. How the accrual of this money is used will be interesting, but it should prove to be extremely invaluable.
3) The Rave Green selected Eythor Bjrgolfsson from Kentucky University with the 38th overall pick, in the second round. He was the first of just two Norwegian's selected in the 2023 SuperDraft. (Andreas Ueland was picked 68th overall by the New England Revolution.)
4) As per the Wildcats' official site, Bjorgolfsson started 43 of the 68 games he played during four seasons in Kentucky. He scored a combined 24 goals and provided 10 assists, with a career-high 10 goals during his senior season.
5) The 22-year-old forward earned an impressive number of accolades during his four seasons at Kentucky. This includes 2019 C-USA All-Freshman Team, 2020 C-USA Commissioner’s Honor Roll and 2021 C-USA All-Tournament Team.
Money in the clutch
6) As per the Sounders' communications teams, Bjorgolfsson proved his ability to step up to the occasion in 2021, scoring the tournament-winning golden goal against Florida Atlantic. This clinched Kentucky’s second-ever Conference USA title, in the process earning him Conference USA Tournament Offensive MVP and All-Tournament Team honors.
7) Slightly closer to home on the West Coast, Seattle used the draft pick they received from St. Louis to select defender Blake Bowen. As per the San Diego State Aztecs' official site, he started 47 of the 56 games he played during four seasons, providing an offensive threat with nine goals and five assists.
8) As per soundersfc.com, the 22-year-old received All-Pac-12 honorable mention as both a sophomore and junior. He starting all 16 of his games during his senior year, being named to the United Soccer Coaches All-Far West Region Third Team and the All-Pac-12 Second Team.
A good day at the office
9) New general manager and chief soccer officer Craig Waibel was understandably positive about the two draft picks. As per Cascadia Sports, Waibel said:
"We are excited to have selected Eythor and Blake in this year’s SuperDraft. Both players showed great talent in their collegiate careers that impressed us, and we are eager to see how they help contribute to this organization next season."
10) Despite last season's disappointing MLS campaign, the Sounders maintain a strong roster more than capable of challenging for the 2023 playoffs. As such, expect both Bjorgolfsson and Bowen to spend the majority -- if not all -- of the year building up their experience and confidence with Tacoma Defiance.
What was your main takeway from the 2023 MLS SuperDraft? Do you agree with the moves the Seattle Sounders made or not, and why? Let us know in the comments section below.