Thursday, November 19, 2015
SEATTLE – Seattle Sounders FC General Manager Garth Lagerwey and Head Coach Sigi Schmid said on Wednesday they were pleased with where the core of the club’s team stood, but added the team would be looking to add a younger, more athletic group to surround them in 2016.
That could offer the opportunity for some of the standouts from Sounders FC 2 this past season to make the step up as the club begins preparations for training camp in January.
“There are guys that already are under contract to our club who played a lot of games with S2, like Damion Lowe and people like that,” Schmid said to reporters. Lowe made 17 appearances on loan with S2 this past season as he helped anchor the side’s defense. Other loanees to make an impact included homegrown signings Aaron Kovar, who had a goal and four assists in his 17 appearances, and forward Darwin Jones, who had five goals in 14 contests.
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While those players are already under contract to the MLS side, there are others who might make the jump from S2’s roster as well. Schmid mentioned defender Ashani Fairclough and forward Oalex Anderson as likely training camp invitees, and the chance for former S2 standout Andy Craven to make his mark after an injury curtailed his season after signing an MLS deal in June.
“Certainly, Ashani Fairclough did well; we want to see him in the camp,” Schmid said. “Oalex Anderson scored a goal [for St. Vincent and the Grenadines] against the U.S. — he represents one of the things we’re talking about, speed on the flanks. We want to give him as well a good look in preseason. Andy Craven just had surgery on his ankle, so he should be ready to go for preseason. ... He’s another one that adds to that speed and youth kind of element.”
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With a good number of the current Sounders core over the age of 30, Lagerwey also spoke of having a succession plan in place that will allow the team to remain a contender in MLS for years to come. What that could mean for Ezra Hendrickson’s side in 2016 is a focus on producing the next group of players that will be needed should players such as former USL standout Osvaldo Alonso move on.“What you have to have is a succession plan at every position,” Lagerwey said. “And that is what we’re working toward — where we have a Plan A and a Plan B and we try to build a roster that we believe is sustainable, while at the same time understanding that given the ages of our best players we have to take another shot at it next year. We have to try to win another MLS Cup.”