1. Xavier Arreaga
As much as the Seattle Sounders will be just fine and should once again contend in 2020, this doesn’t mean Frei couldn’t use some help from the defense! Step forward, Xavier Arreaga. Fair or not, Arreaga will have a lot of pressure on him this season. That’s what happens when you were signed to replace Chad Marshall, as well as now having to make up for the loss of Roma Torres and Kim Kee-Hee.
While Yeimar Gómez Andrade and Shane O’Neill have been brought in as reinforcements, Arreaga will still be relied upon to provide stability at center-back and along the backline in general. The talent is there, as shown in 13 starts last year, but he must now prove he can perform consistently for the Sounders over the course of an entire season.
It helps that the 25-year-old has some experience at the international level having played for Ecuador’s national team. He is extremely comfortable on the ball and has an excellent footballing IQ. As per Jeremiah Oshan of Sounder At Heart, the main area of concern is Arreaga’s struggles to deal with more physical forwards. He is fearless and has a terrific attitude, but that elite-level strength and conditioning is not yet at the required standard.
Overall, as previously mentioned, there will be a lot of pressure on Arreaga this year. He will get some significant help thanks to the likes of Frei and Gomez Andrade, but the signs seem to indicate he is up to the challenge.
Do you agree with our choices as the five most important Seattle Sounders players for 2020? If not, who would you include and/or replace and why? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.