Mike Seamon had an odd feeling when he came into the locker room on Wednesday night.
Something in the way his teammates and coaches greeted him as he came in to get ready for the Sounders FC’s showdown with Real Salt Lake told him this was his night.
When Zach Scott was sent off with his second yellow card in the 30th minute, Seamon began warming up. It wasn’t the way he wanted to enter the match, but he would have to make the most of it as he subbed on in the 40th minute for his first appearance since September 9, 2010.
“We thought he played enough games at right back that it was worthwhile to put him in there because he’s got enough experience,” reasoned head coach Sigi Schmid.
The pressure-cooker of playing against one of the league’s top teams at CenturyLink Field in front of 38,356 fans in a nationally televised match didn’t prove to be too much for the third-year player from Villanova either. With a back line that included two midfielders and a converted forward, the Sounders held on for their third straight shutout in the scoreless draw against Real Salt Lake.
“I’ve been mentally focusing on my game this whole season and what I could do to make myself better,” said Seamon. “I believed that it was going to work out and I think it did today. I’m going to keep moving forward.”
Seamon played in eight league matches in his rookie season in 2010, including three starts, but hadn’t made an MLS appearance since.
He also played in three US Open Cup matches and seven CONCACAF Champions League matches in his rookie year, but his only appearance in 2011 came in the US Open Cup, registering an assist in his 85 minutes against the PDL’s Kitsap Pumas.
In that time since, he played in all 20 reserve league matches the team played over two years, leading the team with five assists in the 2012 reserve league.
It was in those matches this year that Seamon was able to hone his skills as a right back. The converted midfielder knew that if he was going to see time on a team with a congested midfield, it would have to be at a new position.
However, he would be playing the role differently while the Sounders were down a man.
“In the reserve games I like to go forward and get some crosses in and they said don’t really do that, just sit back. I did get up the field a couple of times, but mostly they wanted me to keep it tight,” Seamon said. “We were playing to zero and hoping that we could sneak one in.”
The Sounders expect to have a few defenders back on Sunday when they face FC Dallas, as Adam Johansson will return from international duty and Jhon Kennedy Hurtado will have a chance to train with the team after being fitted for a mask to protect the facial fracture he suffered against the Portland Timbers on October 7.
With some time under his belt now, Schmid knows that he can turn to Seamon if the need arises.