Sounders FC got a jump on today’s Major League Soccer SuperDraft by announcing the signing of Danish midfielder Christian Sivebaek on Wednesday.
Sivebaek, 23, has 80 appearances over three seasons with FC Midtjylland of Denmark’s Superliga, and has scored six goals.
“Christian is a player that we have been following for quite some time,” Sounders technical director Chris Henderson said in a release. “He is a good one-versus-one dribbler, who can provide consistent, quality service to our strikers. He has good speed and physical presence. He has been an up-and-coming player in Denmark, and we are looking forward to adding Christian to our attacking arsenal.”
The Sounders are in position to add more players in the SuperDraft, which begins at 9 a.m. today. The draft will encompass two rounds and 38 selections. Seattle holds the 15th and 34th picks.
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“It’s a pretty deep draft,” Henderson said. “There’s going to be someone there at 15 who we (think) can contribute.”
The Sounders’ most glaring needs already have been addressed with the off-season signings of goalkeeper Michael Gspurning, right back Adam Johansson, and defender Marc Burch, along with Sivebaek.
Coach Sigi Schmid listed remaining needs at midfield, central and outside defenders and center forwards. That covers almost every spot on the pitch except goalkeeper – and Schmid acknowledged the club wants to add a couple of those, too.
However, Schmid wants to sign veteran keepers, meaning none are likely to be selected in the SuperDraft, which primarily involves college players and non-collegiate internationals.
The draft will be held at the Kansas City (Mo.) Convention Center and will be televised on ESPN2. The expansion Montreal Impact holds the No. 1 pick.
Among the top players available are Darren Mattocks, a forward from Akron; Andrew Wenger, a defender/midfielder from Duke; Kelyn Rowe, a midfielder from UCLA; and Matt Hedges, a defender from North Carolina.
Mock drafts have projected the Sounders selecting Tyler Polak, a defender from Creighton; Babayele Sodade, a forward from Alabama Birmingham; Ethan Finlay, a forward from Creighton; and Dom Dwyer, a forward from South Florida, among others.
“We always come into the draft with the same purpose: trying to get the best player we can with our pick,” Schmid said. “You look at needs a little bit and you try to address your needs a little bit as well within that. There’s probably 10-11 players that we really like. If they’re on the board at 15 we’ll probably take one of those guys, and that’s irrespective of need.”
U.S. Soccer announced several format changes for the U.S. Open Cup.
Among them: an expanded field of 64 clubs, including all the MLS teams based in the United States.
The 2012 tournament also will institute a random selection process for determining home teams, replacing the closed-bidding process used in previous seasons.
The tournament will consist of seven stages, starting with the first round on May 15 and concluding with the final on Aug. 7 or 8.
Seattle and the other MLS teams will join the competition in its third round, on May 29. The Sounders will be competing for a fourth straight Open Cup title, a feat never achieved in the 98-year history of the competition.
Don Ruiz, 253-597-8808 firstname.lastname@example.org twitter/donruiztnt blog.thenewstribune.com/soccer
WHEN: 9 a.m. today.
TV: ESPN2 (first round only). The second round will be streamed at MLSsoccer.com.
ROUNDS: Two, with 38 total selections.
SOUNDERS FC: Seattle has the 15th and 34th overall picks.