Soccer MLS

5 Key Players To Seattle Sounders FC’s 2014 MLS Season

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Seattle Sounders FC's 5 Key Players to Their 2014 MLS Season

Seattle Sounders - MLS
Joshua S. Kelly-USA TODAY Sports

The Seattle Sounders had the biggest news in MLS last season with the addition of the most decorated U.S. Men’s National Player in the history of American soccer, Clint Dempsey, but floundered at crucial times in the season. The Sounders finished the season in fourth place in the Eastern Conference and fell out of the 2013 MLS playoffs at the hands of their heated rivals the Portland Timbers. This season, the sky is the limit for the Sounders. Seattle has all the pieces needed to succeed in MLS and win a lot of games.

Seattle has lost some of their key players in the offseason like Eddie Johnson, who I think carried this team with his energy last season at times. Johnson’s absence will impact the team more than they realize, because he just brought an athleticism that a lot of players don’t have at the striker position. However, they've added a few key pieces that should make an immediate impact in addition to the players that they already had and should finish in the top three in the west.

Sleep on Seattle this season at your own risk. They are one of the better teams in MLS and have the pieces to make a deep run in the MLS Playoffs. Here are five players that must have good seasons for Seattle to succeed in 2014. Feel free to leave a comment in the section below if you have another player that you think is important that I left off of this list.

Taylor Sturm is a Columnist for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter @TSturmRS, like him on Facebook or add him to your network on Google.

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5. Kenny Cooper

Kenny Cooper - MLS
Joshua S. Kelly-USA TODAY Sports

Cooper is my vote for surprise player of the year. The ex-FC Dallas man is going to fit into Seattle’s lineup perfectly and start scoring goals on a consistent basis.

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4. DeAndre Yedlin

DeAndre Yedlin - MLS
Jaime Valdez-USA TODAY Sports

Yedlin is an exciting young defender, but must show a toughness that he and a majority of the defense lacked last season. Sure, Seattle is fast, but can they compete with big, physical Western Conference teams?

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3. Obafemi Martins

Obafemi Martins - MLS
Joshua S. Kelly-USA TODAY Sports

Martins has played extremely well in preseason. If he can carry his preseason success into the regular season, he could score 15+ goals.

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2. Marco Pappa

Marco Pappa - MLS
Joshua S. Kelly-USA TODAY Sports

Pappa is going to be an elite playmaker for the Sounders. He could transform this team from a probably playoff team into a legitimate contender to for No. 1 seed in the west.

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1. Clint Dempsey

Clint Dempsey - MLS
Steven Bisig-USA TODAY Sports

So far, saying that their most important player is Clint Dempsey doesn’t go over too well with most Seattle fans. However, Dempsey is key to the Sounders, not because of his play, but because the rest of the team seems to adopt his attitude. When Dempsey plays poorly, the team tends to slump and play poorly as well.