2009 turned out to be just about as good a year for an expansion MLS team as could be had. Seattle Sounders FC finished with a record of 12 wins, 7 losses, and 11 ties, good enough to finish the year in fourth place overall, third in the Western Conference. Seattle won the US Open Cup, advanced to the quarterfinals in the MLS Cup and set the league record in attendance with an average of 30,943 chanting maniacs per home match.
The accolades for the players rolled in all year. Individually, goalkeeper Kasey Keller, midfielder Freddy Ljungberg, defender Jhon Kennedy Hurtado, and forward Fredy Montero represented the Sounders in the MLS All-Star match. Keller was named Player of the US Cup Tournament. Sebastian Le Toux took Player of the semifinal round while Fredy Montero took Player of the Final Round.
Fredy Montero took the MLS by storm. Coming out blazing, he took the Goal of the Week for Weeks 1 and 2, Player of the Week for Week 1, and Player of the Month for March. Keller took Player of the Week for Week 2 and Save of the Week for Weeks 10 and 21.
Nate Jaqua got Goal of the Week honors three times in Weeks 11, 15, and 23, while Patrick Ianni (Week 17) and Steve Zakuani (Week 22) earned the recognition too. Defender Tyronne Marshall won Save of the Week in Week 29.
2009 turned out incredibly well, even historically well, and the buzz around the Puget Sound soccer community has been electric. The already rabid fan base has only gotten louder and larger. The Sounders have opened up more of the Qwest Field seating to accommodate the demand. So, how will the Sounders do? Let’s look at the changes.
The biggest loss was Sebastian Le Toux. He was picked by the expansion Philadelphia Union in the MLS Expansion Draft. Le Toux was an original Sounder, playing for Seattle in the NASL before the team moved into the MLS. He was also the first player signed by Seattle. Apart from being one of my favorite players, his non-stop work effort and set piece ability made him a real asset to the more freelance skills of Montero out front.