Last season, the Seattle Sounders were able to host and win the MLS Cup. It was a joyful and momentous experience for all Sounders fans. However, from a Fantasy perspective, the Sounders were not the most definitive choice for Fantasy managers during the 2019 season.
The defense struggled for shut out points, but provided a decent amount of goals (Leerdam) and assists (Smith). Morris returned from a season-long injury to score 13 goals in 30 appearances and Ruidiaz netted 15 goals in 26 appearances. Cristian Roldan had a surprisingly offensive season with 4 goals and 7 assists. Nicolas Lodeiro was, of course, a staple across many MLS Fantasy teams throughout 2019.
The lineup for Seattle in 2019 generally looked like this.
Tactics & Key Players
If preseason and CCL are any indication, the Sounders will continue to play in the 4-2-3-1 formation they have so often used under Brian Schmetzer.
Goalkeepers: Stefan Frei is universally considered one of the best skilled goalkeepers in MLS, but he was not always the best choice for MLS Fantasy in 2019. While he has the ability to stack up save points, shutouts were hard to come by last season. In 2020, there are some questions about the 3 new faces in the 4-man backline. Unless playing at home against a low-scoring opponent, Frei is a questionable starter for 2020 until the backline can show if they’re consistent or shaky.
Defenders: With Kelvin Leerdam as the only returning starter from last season, there are alot of questions about the Sounders backline. Arreaga was brought in last summer as a DP to fill Chad Marshall’s role after he was forced to retire due to injury. Arreaga was often inconsistent and a bit hot-headed alongside Kim Kee-Hee. Arreaga might look cool, calm and collected with his constantly tucked-in jersey, but he was streaky last year.
Andrade was signed as a TAM/GAM player right before the Sounders left for training camp in Mexico, so it’s difficult to say how the two South American center backs will play next to each other. The final change to the backline is that Nouhou Tolo has seemed to grab the starting left back spot emptied by Brad Smith’s departure. There was speculation Nouhou and Jones would share the position, but Seattle seems to be sticking with Joevin Jones as a winger. The Fantasy interest here is the Nouhou is very inexpensive at $4.5 and heavily contributes offensively as a wingback. Also, Jones, at $6.0, is listed as a defender, but should see most, if not all of, his time on the wing in midfield.
Midfielders: Lodeiro, Lodeiro, Lodeiro. For most of the games last season, Lodeiro was a must have for Fantasy managers. This season, however, he is starting off somewhat questionable. It was revealed early last week that while back home in Uruguay, Nico underwent a “procedure” for hamstring tendonitis. The team did not reveal how serious or long term this injury was, but Nico only began training this past Monday and was not in full training. Because of this uncertainty, Lodeiro is definitely a question mark player going in to 2020.
New DP Joao Paulo is expected to play the #10 role left by Lodeiro and if his first game (CCL at Olimpia) is any indication, he might be a bargain pickup at $8.5. Paulo scored in just 6 minutes, was fouled often and heavily contributed to the offense. His signing was intended to be more as a CDM, but he could be an interesting player for both Fantasy and MLS play as the season progresses.
Gustav Svensson was injured off an on last season, but can sneakily pick up bonus points when facing a team with a weaker midfield. Early indications show that Cristian Roldan will play in a more offensive role on the right wing, which he had success with last season recording 4 goals, 7 assists and a handful of bonus points each game.
The Sounders have a few viable bench players in midfield that, when starting, could be decent budget picks. Miguel Ibarra produced incredibly well his first season at Minnesota, but slowed down in numbers as his playing time decreased. Both he and Harry Shipp will see minutes when Roldan and Morris are away on International play and also if any injuries pop up. The 16 year-old Danny Leyva is also a great budget/bench option when starting, as he often showed last season.
Forwards: Jordan Morris put on a Comeback Player of the Year performance in 2019 and was either a hit or miss Fantasy selection each week. Expect much of the same from him this year as he’ll be playing in a midfield role, but listed as a forward in Fantasy. Raul Ruidiaz was incredibly efficient with his goal scoring last season, especially at home. Depending on the opponent and if Lodeiro is healthy, Ruidiaz should be a must have for several matchups this season.
The 2020 season, both for MLS play and MLS Fantasy play, will see several new faces for the Seattle Sounders and will be without some key players from 2019. Brad Smith, Kim Kee-Hee, Roman Torres and Victor Rodriguez have all left the club while João Paulo (CM) and Yeimar Gomez Andrade (CB) have joined the team. Former Minnesota Loon, Miguel Ibarra, was also recently signed to the Rave Green and is expected to play a vital depth role for the club.
A heavy amount of Sounders players regularly feature for their national teams, which can make a huge impact on your MLS Fantasy squad. Look out for:
- USA- Jordan Morris & Cristian Roldan
- Ecuador- Xavier Arreaga
- Martinique- Jordy Delem
- Trinidad & Tobago- Joevin Jones
- Uruguay- Nicolas Lodeiro
- Peru- Raul Ruidiaz
- Sweden- Gustav Svensson
- Cameroon- Nouhou