Throughout all of the turmoil that encompassed the Seattle Sounders FC towards the end of the MLS season, there was one constant who could counted on to give 90 minutes with minimal mistakes. This player also led the team in minutes played with 2,845, started 32 of the 37 league plus playoff games, was an MLS All-Star and a finalist for the Rookie of the Year award. On top of all that, this player was only 20-years-old; he was right-back DeAndre Yedlin.
Yedlin impressed Sigi Schmid during the 2013 preseason with his maturity on the pitch. He had the ability to press forward in attack at the right time all the while using his speed to recover on potential counterattacks. He also remained out of the referee’s book with only two yellow cards and one red card. Yedlin is a very level-headed player despite the red card, which came during an altercation towards the end of the match with the Philadelphia Union in May.
One of the biggest criticisms of Yedlin during the 2013 season was his crossing ability. From all accounts, that area of his game has improved vastly and that will be one of the key focal points for the Seattle attack in the upcoming 2014 season.
Yedlin was credited with only 22 crosses in MLS Fantasy Soccer Manager, which translated into only seven points since you earn one point for every three crosses. While this number may seem low, it really is not compared to the statistics from other defenders around the league. He tied for 11th among his position with Michael Harrington of the Portland Timbers behind Chris Tierney of the New England Revolution, who nearly doubled their marks with 40 crosses. His former Sounders FC teammate and current Colorado Rapids player Marc Burch was the only teammate of Yedlin to finish higher, though he did play mostly in the midfield.
Schmid likes to give his outside fullbacks the freedom to jump into the attack when the situation allows. With the team’s current crop of players, it looks as though Yedlin may be given more attacking runs than left-back Leo Gonzalez. Schmid may be leaning to a more asymmetrical formation with Yedlin lining up a little higher defensively than his teammates, thus allowing him to jump into the attack easier. Schmid may rest easier knowing that when Yedlin jumps into the attack that Brad Evans, who starts at right-back for the United States Men’s National Team, will be the one covering for Yedlin.
One thing that you should bank on is that Yedlin will catch, if not eclipse the minutes he played last season. He only missed two matches due to injury or suspension, and the only other time missed was due to serve with the United States Under-20 Men’s National Team as they took part in the U-20 World Cup held in Turkey during June 2013.
This season, he was called up by Jurgen Klinsmann for the senior National Team’s January camp and also earned his first international cap when was subbed on for fellow Sounder Evans during the friendly against Korea Republic. He does not look to be in Klinsmann’s plans for the upcoming 2014 FIFA World Cup unless there are injuries above him on the depth chart. This means he probably will not miss any matches towards the end of May for national team commitments.
Yedlin should strongly be considered for your MLS fantasy soccer team and at his current price of only $7.5 million, he could be a steal if he plays up to his abilities.