Seattle’s Nicolas Lodeiro (front right) jogs around the field with Damian Roden, the Sounders’ new director of high performance, at the first day of the Sounders’ MLS training camp on Jan. 22 in Tukwila. (Bettina Hansen/The Seattle Times via AP)

Seattle’s Nicolas Lodeiro (front right) jogs around the field with Damian Roden, the Sounders’ new director of high performance, at the first day of the Sounders’ MLS training camp on Jan. 22 in Tukwila. (Bettina Hansen/The Seattle Times via AP)

Lots of familiar faces as Sounders open camp

  • By Tim Booth Associated Press
  • Monday, January 22, 2018 7:23pm
  • SportsSounders

By Tim Booth

Associated Press

TUKWILA — The Seattle Sounders ended last season with a thud in the MLS Cup final.

It was a disappointing performance but not one that made team officials feel a roster overhaul was necessary.

The changes Seattle made before the start of last season, plus some summer additions, put the Sounders in a position where the offseason heading into the 2018 campaign has so far been mostly, well, boring.

“We feel really good about our team, if I’m honest,” general manager Garth Lagerwey said Monday. “Nothing is given, nothing is promised, we’ve got to go out and earn it. Again, if you look at our whole 18 and you can say we could have 15 or 16 of these guys back from our 18 guys that dressed in the final, OK. Certainly we want to continue to try and add players and get better, but we feel pretty good about our group.”

Just six weeks and a couple of days after losing to Toronto in the MLS Cup final, the Sounders returned to the practice field for the start of preseason camp. Most of the camp will be conducted somewhere other than Seattle, with the Sounders spending lengthy stints in Southern California and Arizona.

And it’s a season that gets started sooner than most. By the time the Sounders face the expansion Los Angeles Football Club on March 4 to open the MLS regular season, they will have already played two critical games in the CONCACAF Champions League round of 16. The Sounders face Santa Tecla from El Salvador in a two-game, home-and-home series beginning Feb. 22 to open the knockout round of the tournament.

The Champions League matches have added importance to Seattle’s preseason. No MLS team has won the Champions League in its current format and Seattle has never advanced beyond the semifinals. But it’s the second straight offseason with little downtime for the players.

“The lack of rest certainly is an issue. I would say it’s equal parts mental and physical as the guys have been going for two years straight with not a lot of rest,” coach Brian Schmetzer said. “We would certainly prefer that to the flip side which is getting two months off and not doing well.”

Helping Seattle ramp up its preseason preparations is the fact its roster is nearly the same as when it lost to Toronto. The only full-time starter Seattle lost in the offseason was Joevin Jones, who joined Darmstadt in Germany. Jordan Morris and Cristian Roldan are at U.S. national team camp. The major changes to the roster came through the acquisition of defender Waylon Francis from Columbus and the drafting of Alex Roldan, the younger brother of Cristian.

Contrast that with last year when the Sounders changed 13 players, including five starters, from the roster that won the 2016 MLS Cup title.

Lagerwey didn’t want the lack of change to be viewed as a sign Seattle was content with what happened last season.

“We are not sitting here saying losing in the final in that manner is acceptable,” Lagerwey said. “But what we are saying is we’re not willing to throw the baby out with the bathwater and build from scratch because we lost one game on the road either.”

Talk to us

More in Sports

Seattle Seahawks running back Kenneth Walker III celebrates after scoring against the Carolina Panthers during the second half of Sunday’s game in Seattle. (AP Photo/Lindsey Wasson)
Grading the Seahawks in their 37-27 win over the Panthers

Seattle turns in a solid all-around performance in front of the 2013 Super Bowl winners.

Arlington’s defense stuffs Ferndale running back Talan Bungard on Friday, Sept. 22, 2023, at Arlington High School in Arlington, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Arlington steamrolls Ferndale in 3A Wesco North showdown

The Eagles light up offense in the first half, finish business to earn a 46-14 win.

Lake Stevens High School head football coach Tom Tri hoists his team’s championship trophy during a community parade and celebration Saturday, Dec. 10, 2022, in Lake Stevens, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
The Herald’s 2022-23 Man of the Year in Sports: Tom Tri

The Lake Stevens coach guided the Vikings to Snohomish County’s first large classification football state title in more than 30 years.

West Linn’s Ryan Vandenbrink (23) runs with the ball during a football game between Lake Stevens and West Linn at Lake Stevens High School in Lake Stevens, Washington on Friday, Sept. 22, 2023. West Linn won, 49-30. (Annie Barker / The Herald)
Turnovers cost Lake Stevens in loss to Oregon power West Linn

The Vikings’ run of 35 straight home wins in the regular season ends in an interstate showdown of big-school state champions.

Marysville Pilchuck’s Christian Van Natta lifts the ball in the air to celebrate a turnover during the game against Marysville Getchell on Friday, Sept. 16, 2022 in Marysville, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Prep football roundup for Friday, Sept. 22

Prep football roundup for Friday, Sept. 22: (Note for coaches/scorekeepers: To report… Continue reading

Lynnwood teammates mob senior Abbie Orr (4) after her impressive dig led to a point against Jackson during a volleyball match Thursday, Sept. 14, 2023, at Lynnwood High School in Bothell, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Lynnwood volleyball team continues rise to prominence

After ending a 20-year state drought last season, the Royals are surging again and have vaulted to No. 3 in Class 3A in the new WSVCA poll.

Seattle Seahawks quarterback Geno Smith (7) scrambles up field during the second half of an NFL football game against the Detroit Lions, Sunday, Sept. 17, 2023, in Detroit. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)
Seahawks set to host Panthers, honor past while focused on present

Seattle will honor the 10-year anniversary of its only Super Bowl championship during Sunday’s game.

Jackson High’s Ben Lee lunges to get to the ball against Kamiak on Thursday, Sep. 22, 2022, at the Kamiak Tennis Courts in Mukilteo, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Prep boys tennis season preview: Players and teams to watch

A look at the area’s top athletes and teams on the tennis court this fall.

Fall prep sports roundup.
Prep roundup for Saturday, Sept. 23

Also, Friday’s non-football prep results.

Most Read