Sounders FC roster

March 8, 2014 

Former Toronto FC goalkeeper Stefan Frei will start Saturday in his first season with the Sounders.

TED S. WARREN/THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

2013 record: 15-12-7; fourth in Western Conference. Returning six starters. * Starters in bold GOALKEEPERS

The skinny: This is the first time Seattle heads into a season with a goalkeeper who does not instantly project among the best in the league. The Sounders believe Stefan Frei can be a solid keeper behind a better team than he had in Toronto, where his goals-against average over five seasons was 1.52. The season could depend on whether they’re right about that.

Backups: Marcus Hahnemann split time pretty equally with Frei during the exhibition season, but other indications were the club sees him in a reserve role again. Josh Ford heads into his fourth season long on athleticism but still short on experience.

No. NameHeightWeightAge 2013 club

24Stefan Frei6-319527Toronto FC

1Marcus Hahnemann6-322041Seattle

29Josh Ford6-017526Seattle

DEFENDERS

The skinny: The Sounders wanted to change the mix at central defense and sent away Jhon Kennedy Hurtado and Patrick Ianni, who had been around since the 2009 expansion season. Chad Marshall seems certain to fill one of those spots because of his combination of defensive toughness and offensive threat on set pieces. Candidates for the other central spot are newcomer Jalil Anibaba and holdover Djimi Traore. The outside positions seem set with holdover DeAndre Yedlin on the right and Leo Gonzalez on the left.

Backups: Anibaba or Traore will be available to give the Sounders a starter-quality center back in reserve. Second-year man Dylan Remick had a breakthrough camp that should allow the Sounders some confidence if Gonzalez (groin) isn’t ready for opening day. Midfielder Brad Evans plays right back for the U.S. national team and is an option there for the Sounders as well. Versatile veteran Zach Scott also returns.

No. NameHeightWeightAge 2013 club

4Jalil Anibaba 6-018525Chicago

12Leo Gonzalez6-117433Seattle

14Chad Marshall6-419029Columbus

17DeAndre Yedlin5-815020Seattle

15Dylan Remick6-016522Seattle

18Djimi Traore6-319134Seattle

20Zach Scott5-1117533Seattle

31Damion Lowe6-317520Hartford (NCAA)

MIDFIELDERS

The skinny: Even with former captain and designated player Mauro Rosales shipped to Chivas USA, the Sounders’ midfield still ranks among the best in MLS with Clint Dempsey, Brad Evans, Marco Pappa and Osvaldo Alonso boasting national team or All-Star appearances on their résumés.

Backups: Those projected starters could force Federal Way’s Lamar Neagle into a reserve role, despite a career-high eight goals last season, or he could slide up to forward. Andy Rose returns after appearing in 41 games over the past two seasons. The Sounders also signed three new midfielders this week: internationals Gonzalo Pineda and Michael Azira, and rookie Fabio Pereira.

No. NameHeightWeightAge 2013 club

2Clint Dempsey6-117031Seattle

3Brad Evans6-117028Seattle

6Osvaldo Alonso 5-1116528Seattle

10Marco Pappa5-1015526Heerenveen (Netherlands)

5Andy Rose6-217024Seattle

8Gonzalo Pineda5-1016631Queretaro (Mexico)

11Aaron Kovar5-1015520Stanford (NCAA)

21Fabio Pereira6-017222Michigan (NCAA)

27Lamar Neagle5-1116526Seattle

42Michael Azira5-1016026Charleston (USL-Pro)

FORWARDS

The skinny: Seattle traded Eddie Johnson, the Sounders’ top goal scorer over the past two seasons. While no one on the club is expected to match Johnson’s individual production, the Sounders believe at least as many overall goals will come from more contributors. Seattle also believes Obafemi Martins will benefit from a full training camp with the team and that he will pair nicely with recent acquisition Kenny Cooper, who has two 18-goal seasons — one of those just two seasons ago.

Backups: Lamar Neagle could see time at forward — perhaps even in a starting role if Cooper doesn’t click alongside Martins. Tristan Bowen came over from Chivas USA in the Mauro Rosales trade, and veteran Chad Barrett arrived from New England in the re-entry process. Sean Okoli, a homegrown player from Federal Way, had the kind of training camp that could lead to regular-season minutes.

No. NameHeightWeightAge 2013 club

9Obafemi Martins5-715429Seattle

33Kenny Cooper6-321029FC Dallas

7Tristan Bowen5-1117023Chivas USA

13Sean Okoli6-118221Wake Forest (NCAA)

16David Estrada5-816026Seattle

19Chad Barrett5-1118528New England

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