The biggest personnel surprise of the Seattle Sounders’ first eight games might be Dylan Remick’s five starts at left back.
Leo Gonzalez had held the position for the first six seasons of the club’s existence, and he was back in the starting lineup for this season’s opener and the two games after that.
However, coach Sigi Schmid wrote in Remick’s name April 4 in a 1-0 win against Houston — and has done so every game since. After his fifth straight start Sunday at New York City FC, he was named to the MLS team of the week along with teammates Obafemi Martins and Chad Marshall.
“Some young players are stepping in,” Schmid said. “I think Dylan Remick has stepped up as a left back. … (Midfielder) Andy Rose is starting to get some significant minutes.”
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One of the Sounders’ offseason goals was to try to get younger. This shift at left back certainly helps with that, as Gonzalez is 34 and Remick is 23.
Yet it can’t just be a matter of age, because during training camp the Sounders brought in an even younger left back: 21-year-old Andres Correa. At the time, he seemed to the more likely heir to Gonzalez’s spot, in light of Remick’s inconsistent second pro season in 2014. However, Correa has spent most of this spring with Sounders 2, while Remick made the first team and then seized the starting job.
However, after the Sounders’ shutout win over Portland on April 26, Schmid declined to say Remick had taken Gonzalez’s spot in the first 11.
“I would describe it as that I have two starting left fullbacks, and right now I am playing Remick,” Schmid said. “… Leo’s been great. He’s a great pro, and he’s been training hard. I know it’s been disappointing for him that I’ve been playing (Remick), but with Leo you’d never know. He trains hard every day and his opportunities will come. He is an important player for our team, and there will be opportunities for him as the season moves forward.”
That’s good news for Gonzalez, who said during training camp that he wants several more seasons playing the sport he loves.
“If it was my decision, I would play five, four more years,” he said. “But I know I’m getting older. Professional players play maybe until 35. Fortunately I have a good professional life, and I take care of myself all of my 13 years playing soccer. I think I can play one more year or maybe come back to Costa Rica and play. I don’t know. I have to go step by step: how I feel in six months, how I feel in the next six months. If I feel great, if there’s still the motivation, we can still play soccer. That’s my target. But my body, it’s difficult. Just God knows your next step.”
The Sounders traveled to Columbus, Ohio, on Thursday and will train there Friday in advance of their 4:30 p.m. Saturday match with the Crew. … The 20-man roster for the United States’ U-20 FIFA World Cup was named Thursday. No current Sounders FC players were included. However, Jeff Caldwell of the University of Virginia was the regular goalkeeper for the Pierce County-based Sounders U-23 last season, and plans to return after the U-20 World Cup concludes next month.