Seattle Sounders FC

A Fare-Thee-Well and Welcome (MLS Expansion Draft Mix)

Jalil Anibaba will play next season with Orlando City SC. Oh, wait, no he won’t. Make that Sporting KC.

Let us just turn to Jacob Sweeny-Samuelson of Sounder at Heart:

Sounders FC, Orlando City SC, and Sporting KC, of MLS.In the MLS Expansion Draft today, Orlando City SC used their third choice of available players to snag Anibaba from the Sounders.

In response, the Sounders added Zach Scott to the protected list. Though many doubted that Scott would be picked in this draft, the Sounders clearly didn’t want to risk losing two center back options from the roster.

The Sounders made it through the rest of the draft unscathed ....

.... It looks like Anibaba may remain in the Western Conference after all. Sporting KC reporter Sam McDowell reports that Anibaba has immediately been traded to Kansas City as part of a deal to ship Aurelien Collin to Orlando ....

First: Thank you, Jalil, and good luck in Kansas City. We’ll be seeing you again, soon.

Also: Good luck to OCSC, and also NYCFC. Welcome to the show; we look forward to greeting your colors with rave green.

A Raving Smirk

Sometimes there is a good reason to dwell on the past, and that reason is generally to smirk at the future. Well, okay, it feels good. But sometimes smirking amounts to asking for trouble.

Sounders FC coach Sigi Schmid. (Photo: Ted S. Warren/AP)After what Seattle Sounders FC majority owner Joe Roth called a “horrible” end to the 2013 season, he faced a decision: fire coach Sigi Schmid, or fire some players.

“It was close,” Roth said. “I called Sigi down to Los Angeles with (general manager Adrian Hanauer). It was after we won one of the last 10 games, (survived) the play-in game and lost to Portland. I was upset. And we sat for a couple of hours. And I sat there and I thought, ‘You know, I could fire this guy, who I think is one of the two best coaches in the league. But he’s won the championship in LA and Columbus. So I’ve either got to fire him or fire the players.’ So I fired the players — because obviously they just weren’t jelling.”

This season, the new combination jelled. The Sounders won their fourth U.S. Open Cup, their first Supporters’ Shield and on Sunday will begin the Western Conference finals series at Los Angeles in hopes of advancing to their first MLS Cup.

As Don Ruiz notes for The News Tribune, Sounders FC failed to reach the MLS Cup final in their first five seasons. Sunday, however, brings the first leg of their two-game Western Conference Final aggregate against L.A. Galaxy, who Sounders FC just defeated a few weeks ago in order to capture their first Supporters’ Shield. The first task will be to hold LAG to zero goals; all else follows.

Well, okay, not all. SFC still have to score at least a goal, preferably in Los Angeles, and then everything else can follow. The whole thing about road goals is puzzling to Americans who don’t follow fútbol, but the maxim still generally holds: Offense wins games; defense wins championships.

Whatever. The bottom line is to get your smirk on. Sounders FC face L.A. Galaxy Sunday, 23 November, at StubHub Center in Carson, California. Along with the second leg, a week later in Seattle, these will be Landon Donovan’s last matches in MLS.

Rally up, Rave Green. There will be no swan song for the American legend.

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Ruiz, Don. “Sounders owner glad he kept coach, fired players”. The News Tribune. 17 November 2014.

Homegrown Rave Green

Victor Mansary signed a homegrown contract with Sounders FC in November, 2014.

Congratulations, Victor Mansaray, and welcome to the Show.

Seattle Sounders FC has signed forward Victor Mansaray to a Homegrown Player contract, the club announced today. Per Major League Soccer and club policy, terms were not disclosed. Mansaray is not eligible to play for Sounders FC until the 2015 season.

“Victor has been a huge presence in the Academy the last few seasons and we are excited to see him develop further within the organization,” said Sounders FC Owner and General Manager Adrian Hanauer. “He is a high-quality player with tremendous potential that embodies the standard of our Academy system to produce pro-level athletes.”

Mansaray, 17, is the fourth Homegrown Player signing in Sounders FC history, joining DeAndre Yedlin (2013), Sean Okoli and Aaron Kovar (2014) ....

.... In his second season with the Sounders FC U-16s, Mansaray scored a team-high 18 goals in helping the team reach the USSDA Playoffs for a second straight season. He entered the Sounders FC Academy midway through the 2012-2013 season and finished the campaign with 11 goals in 20 matches, including just 11 starts. In eight matches this season for the U-18s, Mansaray has scored four goals and has regularly worn the captain’s armband.

And what a show it is. With the club name engraved on the Supporters’ Shield, and the second leg of their MLS semifinal against Dallas FC yet to come, Mansaray will open next season with high expectations for Sounders FC. And, honestly, those numbers suggest he has the talent to do his part. Of course, the Big Show always brings additional challenges. And, naturally, begging the homegrown powerhouse’s pardon, it is also true that our attention looks toward Monday’s second leg of the semifinal. And then, of course, there is the MLS final.

Still, though, Sounders fans should be excited. The club has the best homegrown operation in the league. And, in a way, it makes perfect sense to bring Mansaray up now, as opposed to later. He may not be eligible to play, but folding him into the First Team at this point will also immerse him in a championship attitude, and as we know, more days than not, attitude is the difference between W, L, and T.

For the fans, the question of discipline is to keep focused on the upcoming games. To the one, that shouldn’t be too much; to the other, it can be harder than we think.

Congratulations, sir. Rave green would appear to be your color, and we have great confidence that you shall wear it well.

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Sounders FC Public Relations. “Sounders FC Signs Victor Mansaray to Homegrown Player Contract”. 5 November 2014.

An Accomplishment, or, More Soccer

Seattle Sounders FC won the 2014 MLS Supporters' Shield.

When did we become a sports blog?

Or maybe not. Still, though, this happened:

Seattle Sounders FCCongratulations to the Seattle Sounders.

On Saturday afternoon they captured their first-ever Supporters’ Shield trophy after securing the best record in the 2014 MLS regular season (20-10-4, 64 pts.). The Sounders beat the LA Galaxy 2-0 in front of 57,673 fans at CenturyLink Field in a match televised on NBC.

The match was a winner-take-all decider for the trophy, as the LA Galaxy could have claimed an MLS-record fifth Shield had they been able to defeat the Sounders.

As it stands, the Sounders are still very much on track for an unprecedented treble of trophies: the Supporters’ Shield, MLS Cup and the US Open Cup, which they won in September.

It seemed worth mentioning.

And, yes, you read that attendance number correctly.

Talk about support.

Congratulations, indeed, to Seattle Sounders FC as they move on in pursuit of their first MLS Championship.

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MLS Soccer. “Seattle Sounders FC capture first-ever MLS Supporters’ Shield with victory over LA Galaxy”. 25 October 2014.