So everyone with on long sigh of exuberance, shout at the top of your lungs “We FINALLY have details concerning the USL and MLS agreement!” If you need the reader digest key notes or takeaways along with other random MLS discussion you can head over to The American Pitch for all the specific detail and Doug Smith will fill you in.
Honestly, a lot of the information that is out was pretty much leaked or obvious speculation. Clubs will be/are forming affiliations and are going enable clubs to work out loan deals for multiple players. Good stuff, no doubt. The key take aways for the Sounders supporters really is the added benefit of a of couple extra game this season for the MLS Reserves.
An important note that kind of transcends all of this information, is that there is no additional information being provided for the intents of what the future may bring. What we do know is that this is hardly the final destination for the partnership between the two leagues.
Obviously they still have the U-23 squad in the USL PDL, formerly the Tacoma Tide, and as a part of the Academy it’s not going away. The MLS Reserve club and the club itself is a rather ambiguous term as it’s a squad filled with players that either hadn’t played in recent games or are guys the club is trying to work out. 12 games is more than 10 and while everyone wants more it’s just not there yet. The important thing is that it’s moving forward and doing so against better talent WITH better talent.
I know a few people that are already disappointed at the amount of trees and ink wasted upon what is seemingly a little increase of playing time. When teams such as the Revs, DC, Sporting and Philly are all adding as many as a dozen to their schedule by affiliating with a USL Pro clubs and sending their youngsters on for season long loans.
There are still pros and cons to such a deal and right now and nothing is perfect. The Sounders have been slow, but steady and methodical with building their Academy. No sense in sending them off to a club that, prime example being Michael Teeth, could change their positioning, not find the appropriate time with them or change/”improve” certain aspects of their game that the MLS side never cared or wanted changed.
Some of these new players from the Supplemental draft need time in the organization and sending them off to refine their skills without teaching them and setting them up for success in the organization would do nothing but set them back. They need opportunities to play and yet they need to understand what the Sounders expect out of them.
It also doesn’t preclude the club from loaning out any players necessarily. They could still potentially loan one or two players out without contractually working out an affiliation. It’s possible that they could have Will Bates or even Andrew Duran head out to the Charleston Battery.
The Sounders take isn’t unique as Toronto FC have already announced their their intentions not to place any players into USL at this time. While the laugh and running joke is that the Reds might as well be a USL Pro club and considering their play last year that’s fair knock. But with Kevin Payne coming into the organization (former DC United President and CEO, and has had a huge hand in developing their top notch Academy) sort legitimizes what they’re doing. The added bonus of actually having their head coach Ryan Nelsen on the sidelines to start the season they are a club on the rise.
Overall this is a huge step for the league and it’s a modest step in the right direction as it pertains to the Sounders. Hopefully we’ll see more details as it pertains to the Reserve League in the coming months.