David Falk has followed soccer in the Puget Sound region since 1974. This blog covers Sounders FC, local college soccer, Seattle Wolves FC, Tacoma Tide FC and Kitsap Pumas. Send tips or comments to: goalseattle@gmail.com
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Seattle Soccer Examiner

Seattle Soccer Examiner

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Quakes expose Sounders' shaky defense, 3-2

The GOALSeattle forums have been filled with posts since day one of camp over concern about the Sounders' defensive back line. Jeff Parke doesn't seem to want to play in Seattle and hasn't signed, while the deal for Costa Rican Roy Miller fell through due to health care issues for his pregnant girlfriend. All the while the names being brought into camp had "M" or "F" by them. Very few "D's." Still, how could you argue with giving up only two goals in three pre-season matches? Where was the proof that Seattle's defense may be suspect?

Last night's 3-2 loss to the San Jose Earthquakes provided some evidence for us defense-doubters. Even head coach Sigi Schmid slipped in a concern.

“In a game when you score two goals, it’s always a good thing. I thought Fredy Montero looked sharp. I thought his understanding with Nate (Jaqua) was very good. I thought offensively it was good,” Sounders FC Head Coach Sigi Schmid told SoundersFC.com. “In the first half, we made two mistakes and conceded two goals. And then we made a mistake early in the second half and conceded a third goal. So it’s still a case of we have to get a lot better defensively. People have to make better decisions. It’s not a matter of people being in the right places, it’s making the right decisions.”

I'm not sure if Sigi believes he has the right personnel in place in the back and they just are making 'bad decisions,' or if he already realizes more help (talent) is needed. Seattle's back line starters for the match were Nathan Sturgis, Tyson Wahl, Taylor Graham and James Riley. Kasey Keller was tagged with all three goals.

The defensive concerns coming to light overshadowed to a degree the continued sparkle of Colombian striker Fredy Montero. Fredy scored both of Seattle's goals and continues to gain experience and confidence in the attackers that surround him.

Tyrone Marshall, the recently acquired Jamaican central defender and national team captain has yet to see action for Seattle. The club is coming back home to train next week and he is expected to join them then.

Match reports:
Tacoma News Tribune

Photo credit: Sigi Schmid talks with Kasey Keller in a photo by Rick Morrison that we've given a digital treatment to.


  1. Everybody needs to calm down about the backline. It's a brand new team. I think the back 4 have done a great job considering the length of time they've had to get used to each other. Wahl and Graham are solid CB's. It's the outside two that should be questioned.

  2. I couldn't disagree more, obviously. Wahl is largely unproven in his career as a bench player. Graham has been excellent in the USL and a bomb in MLS with New York, and a bench player with KC. Meanwhile, James Riley seems to be playing the best on the left side.

    Sturgis has had too many injuries. We are bringing in Marshall, who will help, but is 34 and slowing down, and comes off of terrible reviews from his 2008 season in Toronto. We can only hope the guys gel, but frankly even if they do we may not have the talent back there to compete week in, week out.

  3. grahan simply can't be a starting MLS back. he is fine as a back upm, but in ny all he did was foul or watch guys dribble by him.

  4. let's lossen our nickers up a little boys! It's the first week of training camp and action againts real competition. We came in to the game a little full of ourselves last night and couldn't get control of the game. it's going to take sometime for the boys to mesh. lets see how the lads do when they come back from SA. Then we will have a better idea of the product we'll see for the season.
    For me, no matter what, I will be there on the 19th proud that we have made the big time, and I know that we will have the best team we could put together.
    Bomo. from Alaska

  5. Unproven? You're a joke, obviously.

  6. If that was aimed at my reference of Tyson Wahl, he started just over half (16) matches for the Wizards in 2008. Before then he had only a total of 16 other appearances for the Wizards' first team.

  7. I agree, the back line lacks sufficient experience and quality. Graham and Wahl likely wouldn't start consistently for most MLS teams today. However, I do think it possible they develop into players that can reliably start every week...this will take quite a bit of time though.
    I agree we need a 'proven' defender in the back that can provide leadership as well as quality...I'm not sure Marshall has enough left in the tank to be that player.


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