Say goodbye to Sanna Nyassi and Nathan Sturgis.
Their reward for helping to save the Sounders from near disaster: getting shipped to the Vancouver Whitecaps FC in Wednesday’s 2010 MLS Expansion Draft. Nyassi went in the first round and Sturgis followed in the third. Both players started and contributed to Seattle’s second-half resurgence.
Sounders management deemed both expendable. Such are the harsh realities of pro sports –even in Major League Soccer. The necessary but difficult decisions now clarifies Seattle’s starting midfield quartet — Brad Evans and Osvaldo Alonso anchoring the middle with designated player Alvaro Fernandez and Steve Zakuani occupying the flanks.
But for a team with Seattle’s ambitions, let’s hope management is only beginning the search for a talented playmaker — wherever he might be. Evans, a smart and capable center midfielder, is returning from a long-term knee injury. He is versatile and can play in different midfield positions, but it is questionable whether he can be the creative force the Sounders need to ratchet up.
For now, Seattle loses the blitzing speed of Nyassi and the technical proficiency and hustle of Sturgis. Nyassi, 21, has since been traded to Colorado, and the Whitecaps dealt Sturgis, 23, to Toronto FC on Thanksgiving day.
The two players will be remembered for their contributions, particularly Nyassi’s two-goal performance that helped the Sounders lift the US Open Cup trophy for the second year in a row.
“Sanna’s explosive speed will be missed and his role in our Open Cup championship will be long remembered,” said Sigi Schmid, Sounders FC head coach. “Nate was a very important player to our team last year, starting in our central midfield as we turned things around in the second half.
“We are disappointed to lose them both,” Schmid continued, “and we want to thank them for their contributions to Sounders FC.”
Now that the messiness of the expansion draft is over, Seattle needs to pursue players who can get them to the MLS Cup finals and to the Knockout Round of the CONCACAF Champions League.
No mean feat, to be sure, but putting priorities on these kinds of newbies to the squad will help: so, let me start the discussion: how about a DP-level creative midfield force, a quality attacking outside back and a young and very fast forward, who can also finish.
This is the holiday season, afterall, I’m not asking for too much.