All 29 players on the Sounders FC roster have at least one thing in common: For most of their careers, they were among the best players on their teams.
Now, as professionals, simple math dictates that fewer than half of them can even be starters.
For those who are not, that takes some getting used to.
“It is frustrating because some of the guys – myself included – we all come from a team where we all started,” rookie midfielder Michael Tetteh said. “I understand this is the pros, and everybody’s fighting for (playing time). It is a little frustrating, but I think that’s part of the maturity for a young player, especially coming into Seattle, which has a really good team. I think the only thing we can do is keep working hard, keep performing and remember not to put your head down and mope around and stuff. Just keep doing what you’re doing, and hopefully you get your chance.”
The MLS reserve league was created largely to provide that kind of chance for players such as Tetteh, who started for three seasons at UC Santa Barbara. Tetteh was the Sounders’ first pick in the 2011 SuperDraft (20th overall), but he hasn’t been on the pitch in Seattle’s first four MLS matches.
“(The reserve league) gives some of us a chance to have a game,” Tetteh said. “It’s one thing just practicing – going through practice and working hard – and it’s another thing actually playing a game. There’s game fitness and then there’s practice fitness. So for me, it’s very, very good that they brought the reserve league back because it gives the other guys a chance.”
Tetteh made the most of his chance Saturday, coming off the bench in the 62nd minute and knocking in the only goal of Seattle’s reserve league match at San Jose.
Despite his eagerness to impress his coaches, he shared the credit.
“The goal, first of all, was a team play,” Tetteh said. “I came in in the second half and we were moving the ball pretty well – so it wasn’t something that I did by myself. It was a team play. I got the ball on the left, I took one or two guys on, and I saw an open goal, and I shot it and it went in. I was happy for our team.”
The MLS restored its reserve league this season after a two-season absence. During those two seasons – which coincided with the Sounders’ first two seasons in existence – MLS teams were left to schedule their own matches, usually against nearby college or semipro teams.
After one match, Sounders coach Sigi Schmid said the reconstituted reserve league is doing just what is was designed to do.
“When you are playing against other MLS teams, the quality of the opposition is better,” Schmid said. “ It was good. I thought the game was pretty even in the first half. In the second half, I thought we created a lot more chances, and eventually got a goal from Michael Tetteh – and it was a good goal. It was good for him because it helps his self-confidence as well.”
The reserves will play Saturday at Chivas USA. Their first home game will be a rematch with Chivas on May 9 at Starfire Sports Stadium in Tukwila.
Fredy Montero’s surgically repaired wrist will be assessed by the surgeon Wednesday. Schmid lists Montero’s status as day to day. Camilo Sanvezzo of Vancouver was named MLS player of the week Monday. Sanvezzo, of Brazil, scored two goals in stoppage time to salvage a 3-3 draw with Kansas City. Real Salt Lake goalkeeper Nick Rimando was voted MLS player for the month of March, allowing one goal as RSL got off to a 2-0 start in league play.
Don Ruiz: 253-597-8808 firstname.lastname@example.org twitter/donruiztnt blog.thenewstribune.com/soccer