Officially, Sounders FC took five players from No. 20 to No. 47 in the MLS SuperDraft on Thursday.
But the way the Sounders see it, they took five players ranging from No. 9 to 25. That, at least, is the way general manager Adrian Hanauer said they showed up on Seattle’s draft board.
And the Sounders did it despite a draft day deal that moved them out of the first round – sending the No. 11 pick and an international roster slot to Portland in exchange for the No. 20 pick and allocation money.
Seattle then used that pick to grab Michael Tetteh, a midfielder/defender from Ghana by way of UC Santa Barbara.
“What was so great for us was that we anticipated Tetteh being taken anywhere from nine to 13,” Hanauer said. “And then when he was available at 20, we were very happy about that. Of the five players that we chose, when we put our mock draft together, the latest we had any of those players going was 25. So, for us the fact that we got five players that we really, really liked at the 20, 21, 27, 29 and 47 slots was, I’d use the word shocking.”
Hanauer said the club’s plan all along was to trade its first pick: either moving up to grab one of the handful of difference-makers they wanted, or dropping back to gather a bagful of prospects who can fill roles or provide depth.
Using the second approach, Seattle took Tetteh along with Juan Leone Cruz, a Southern Methodist defender; Servando Carrasco, a University of California forward/midfielder; Bryan Meredith, a Monmouth goalkeeper; and Alex Caskey, a midfielder from Davidson.
“In terms of addressing our needs, we wanted to give ourselves a little more cover wide, and I think we did that with Tetteh,” coach Sigi Schmid said. “We wanted to pick up a quality goalkeeper and we were able to do that. We wanted to get a little more depth at midfield so we did that with Carrasco, we did that with Caskey as well. And then with Cruz we gave ourselves somebody who can play outside back as well as in the middle. We were able to solidify ourselves.”
Tetteh was born in Accra, Ghana, but came to America six years ago to pursue his dream of playing professional soccer. In three seasons at UCSB, he played in 59 games, including 50 starts, recording six goals and eight assists.
“My goal is to go there and work hard and be on the starting squad,” he said in a conference call. “Obviously, there are great players at Seattle. What I want to do is learn, but also I have a very strong thing with me sitting on the bench. Obviously, I’m a rookie and I have got to prove myself on the field; but my goal is to go there and learn from the other guys and get on the field. With the style of play that Seattle plays, I think it’s going to be a very good fit for me and I could see myself going in and starting.”
Schmid seemed dubious about any of these newcomers stepping into his first 11. But he seemed to like the talent and the numbers that will greet him when training camp begins Jan. 25.
“The more competition we have for spots, it’s good for our roster,” Schmid said. “It’s good for the guys who come in with an attitude in preseason that they have to start out well from the very beginning. I think the mentality sometimes is veteran players come in a little bit with the attitude of, ‘I just have to get through preseason.’ And I think having a competitive environment every day and having everyone competing for spots, that’s going to make our group better.”
Don Ruiz, 253-597-8808 firstname.lastname@example.org More coverage available at blog.thenewstribune.com/soccer