Seattle Sounders “B” Team: Good Idea? Or Great Idea?
During the end of the year business meeting, among other things, the Seattle Sounders owners discussed the possibility of the Seattle Sounders fielding a “B” squad in a lower division. The reason for this primarily is so the Sounders young players could have a chance to develop more by playing a regular season, and not having to settle for just playing in reserve league games. That way, reserve league games could feature reserves, like the title would suggest. Then our first team players would be able to gain more playing time if trying to fight off a knock, or if they just need to increase their fitness levels. This would help players like Steve Zakuani, Mario Martinez, and Alex Caskey get more game experience, and even learn different positions. Zakuani was used sparingly as a striker in his early matches, Martinez could learn the midfield role, a position he enjoys drifting into on multiple occasions during a match, and maybe give some more experience to Brad Evans who is used as an emergency Right Back.
So, how would this work essentially? First of all, I will say that besides the Seattle Sounders, I support FC Barcelona and have for five years now. I love the club almost as much as I love the Sounders. Luckily, Barcelona have one of the best and most popular “B” teams in the world. Players like Carles Puyol, Xavi Hernandez, Andres Iniesta, and Lionel Messi. Historic players have come out of the club, obviously. So, could we have the next Messi or Iniesta come from the Sounders B squad? Who knows… One could only hope.
Barcelona B play in the Segunda Division, or the second division in Spain. Same as the Championship in England. But, just as clubs are relegated and promoted every season, Barcelona B are not allowed to be promoted to La Liga. Why? Well, for obvious reasons. A conflict of interest of sorts. You wouldn’t want Barcelona B playing Barcelona because then the B side would just let the first team win each game so that they could finish higher in the standings. That would be six extra points a season. Even if each side would be honest in saying they would try to win, you just can’t trust that late in the game a team would take it easy to let the senior side win.
So, Sounders B wouldn’t be allowed to ever play in Major League Soccer if we were ever to have promotion/relegation implemented. This wouldn’t be a problem seeing as though MLS doesn’t have it, yet. (One can only hope)
Another big factor is that Sounders B wouldn’t be allowed to play in the U.S. Open Cup (assuming the rules stay the same as they have them in Spain) Since the Open Cup is a competition for multiple levels of soccer in the United States, both Sounders clubs couldn’t meet because the senior team would want to advance.
One great thing about having a B squad would be the ability to send players up and down whenever you wanted. Since Barcelona B and Barcelona can never play a competitive game against each other, Barcelona is able to call up players whenever they want to. Barcelona often call up B squad players for Copa Del Rey games and some less than meaningful Champions League games. It would be nice for the Sounders to call up an in-form players to start a Open Cup game or CONCACAF Champions League game in the future.
Players like Caskey, Andy Rose, Andrew Duran, David Estrada, and Josh Ford could benefit greatly for playing together on a regular basis. Not to mention it would benefit our Home Grown Players to get some significant playing time with players they could be playing with for years to come on the first team. It would also give our younger players a sense of pride and commitment towards the Seattle Sounders organization. This would be a great thing if, or probably when the Sounders B develop. Also, it would give us more games to go to. And who doesn’t love more Sounders soccer?