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2020 Western Conference Preview: Seattle Sounders

Seattle ended up winning the championship last year, sure, but I don’t think their team is going to go down in history as the best team of that season.

MLS: MLS Cup-Toronto FC vs Seattle FC Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

It’s that time of year again! We’re going through each team in the Western Conference to see how they ended last year, how things have gone in the offseason, and what we might expect from them in 2020. They will be published in no particular order, and you can find all of them here.

Seattle Sounders

2019 Record: 16-7-10 (56 points, 2nd in WC, won MLS Cup)

Goals for: 52 (T-5th in WC)

Goals against: 49 (T-5th in WC)

Three key additions:

  • Shane O’Neill (ex-Rapids homegrown player)
  • João Paulo
  • Yeimar Gomez Andrade

Three key subtractions:

  • Roman Torres
  • Victor Rodriguez
  • Brad Smith

General Thoughts:

Another year, another MLS Cup Final with the Seattle Sounders and Toronto FC. Three times in the last four seasons. And we’re all just waiting for their inevitable fourth playoff matchup, which will more than likely end up with a Jozy Altidore goal and people being way too quick to brand each team as a dynasty team.

Seattle ended up winning the championship last year, sure, but I don’t think their team is going to go down in history as the best team of the 2019 season. Their win against LAFC in the playoffs is probably the most shocking upset of the bracket, but it is the team in black and gold that will be remembered.

But, here’s the thing. Seattle has pretty much always been good. They’ve made the playoffs every year since they’ve been in MLS, they have powerhouse signings, have developed superstar homegrown players like Premier League player DeAndre Yedlin and USMNT striker Jordan Morris. The chances of Seattle having a significant backslide in 2020 is slim. Not impossible… but slim.

That being said, their offseason has been pretty dang quiet though. They lost a good chunk of their defensive line with Kim Kee-Hee, Brad Smith, Jonathan Campbell, Saad Abdul-Salaam, and Roman Torres all having their options declined or were out of contract. Their MLS Cup MVP, Victor Rodriguez, also left. It seems that while they’ve kept their biggest players, a lot of their depth has vanished.

Their new signings have been pretty threadbare. They brought in Stefan Cleveland in a trade with Chicago, but given that he was playing mostly in USL League One last year means he’s unlikely to see minutes. They signed ex-Rapids homegrown player Shane O’Neill, who made some appearances with Orlando City, but again has the flavor of a depth player over a starter. Their major new signing is João Paulo, a Brazilian central midfielder who played for Botafogo in Rio de Janeiro. Joining DPs Nicolas Lodeiro and Raul Ruidiaz, Paulo is going to be another piece in a very solid core group for Seattle. They also signed Yeimer Gomez Andrade, a Columbian centerback. He was previously playing in Argentina, so chances are he will be a go-to starter.

This upcoming season for Seattle is probably going to go the same way every season goes. They’ll end up somewhere in the playoffs, probably make a fairly deep run into it, and do so while having a few games where people start to question how good they really are, only for them to bounce back immediately afterward. Nothing seems to be all that different for them.