Casey Sapio-USA TODAY Sports
There's always a lot to take away from preseason matches, and although there's some danger of taking away just a bit too much, let's go through some notes from Saturday's loss to Seattle.
* * *
The young players look surprisingly good. Now, this may well be because they're looking to impress in preseason action and win minutes, but players like John Stertzer, David Viana, Cole Grossman, Joao Plata, Carlos Salcedo — the list goes on — have shown quite well indeed. Goals from three of those (Stertzer, Grossman, Plata) are hardly coincidences.
Ned Grabavoy isn't a typical top-of-the-diamond player. We knew that, of course, but he brings a markedly different tactical approach to the table when playing there. I wrote at The Sovereign today about how this flattens the diamond, with the wider players pushing further forward. It's an interesting look.
Enzo Martinez continues to be remarkably flexible in the midfield. I've seen him play in all four spots of the diamond (and at right back) and he always looks reasonably comfortable. On Saturday, his deep-lying role saw him look a little tentative at first, but his ability to hit passes both long and short, along with his vision of developing play, saw him as one of the better elements on display.
Lovel Palmer has been a solid player in preseason; his communication at right back is quite good, and he is defensively solid and aware. I'm still unsure about him in midfield, but seeing him there would certainly help.
As usual, we didn't shoot much from outside the box — until Khari Stephenson came on, and he couldn't stop shooting from outside the box. It was a nice tactical move from the player — it forced Seattle to step up when they were able to defend inside their own box more easily before, and a rebound from a long shot created the goalscoring opportunity for John Stertzer. We've been accused — rightly so — of not shooting from distance with enough frequency. That changed on Saturday, and it paid dividends.
David Viana — whoa. Kid's good, isn't he? I've tried to play him down in the past, having only seen bits and pieces of his play, but if he continues at this rate, it'll be hard to keep the hype away.