Seattle Sounders FC 2’s David Olsen showing versatility, thriving in new position in midfield

Scoring is in David Olsen’s DNA.

Olsen, 21, has been a prolific finisher throughout his career. Before joining the Seattle Sounders Academy, his exploits in front of goal helped his club team win Washington State Cup four times in five years. Across two seasons with Sounders Academy, Olsen bagged 30 goals in USSDA regular-season play and added three more in an exciting run to the quarterfinals of the Academy playoffs in his final campaign.

After a sterling college career at Seattle University, in which he recorded 27 goals and seven assists, Olsen opted to rejoin the Sounders and signed with Sounders FC 2 for the 2017 season. Now playing professionally with his hometown club, he’s has been tasked with making the transition from a forward poacher to a midfield creator.

While his individual statistics indicate the transition’s going rather smoothly — Olsen has two goals and one assist to date — his all-around performances in Rave Green augur a bright future.  If not for a combination of the crossbar and outstanding goalkeeping, Olsen could have as many as five or six goals to his name.

What has made Olsen such a terrific goalscorer is his versatility in the attacking third. Capable of generating offense in myriad ways, his multifaceted skill set has eased his transition to the professional game, as well as to his new role in midfield.

“We play David out wide, but he has that ability to tuck inside toward goal,” S2 head coach Ezra Hendrickson said. “He’s very good with the ball, and he’s good at holding up the ball and letting the wing back behind him get forward.”

One of Olsen’s best attributes is his soccer IQ. More specifically, it’s his innate ability to identify spaces on the field where he can impact the game.

While he’s nominally a left winger, he has the freedom to roam around the three-man attacking midfield and pick out little pockets of space to ignite the offense. His hold-up play, first honed during his days as a No. 9 in youth soccer, enables him to retain possession and bring teammates into the fold.

“David’s got good feet so he can play in a variety of areas and play when the pressure is a little tighter,” said S2 Director of Player Personnel Kurt Schmid. “He doesn’t have to sit out on the flank and wait to get the ball to go out people, but he can come inside and create, and that opens up space for the left back to make runs down the flank as well.”

This versatility, especially his movement with and without the ball, is what makes Olsen such a nightmare for opposing defenders. If teams decide to man-mark him, he’ll consistently drag his defender out of position, creating gaps for teammates to exploit in the attack. If they allow him to run freely, he’ll pop up in dangerous areas and generate quality chances.

“He has that ability to dribble inside and make that slicing pass that splits defenses,” Hendrickson said of Olsen. “We’re very happy with what he’s doing from that position.”

Olsen’s unique skill set also brings out the best in his teammates. With a passing accuracy of 74.3 percent and 12 chances created (second-highest on S2), he plays an integral role in S2’s possession-oriented offense. His 68.5 percent pass completion in the opponent’s half, with over 50 percent of his passes either going forward or to the right, demonstrates his ability to cut infield and combine with teammates in the final third.

The former Red Hawk has also added a few new elements to his game in his time with S2. Olsen was never known for his defensive ability, but with the Sounders, he’s developed into a much more complete player. Through 11 games, he leads S2’s attacking players in interceptions (11), tackles won (15) and duels won (59).

While Olsen’s ability in the attack has never been in doubt, his dedication to becoming a complete player capable of playing in numerous positions bodes well for his future development. He might be adjusting to a new position at the professional level, but his first few months with S2 indicate a bright future for the local kid.



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