When Major League Soccer unveiled its annual 22 Under 22 presented by BODYARMOR list on Tuesday, it was a bit surprising to see the lack of Sounders representation.
In a campaign that sees Seattle sit atop the Western Conference standings, the Rave Green have relied upon several young players to achieve their lofty status. That the likes of Josh Atencio and Danny Leyva could carve out significant roles on such a stacked roster is an accomplishment in its own right. Add in dozens of performances indicating that they’re not only big prospects for the future but capable of contributing right now, and their absence on the 22 Under 22 list becomes even more of a head scratcher.
On Wednesday, MLSsoccer.com writer Andrew Wiebe revealed his list for the biggest snubs on this year’s edition of 22 Under 22, with Atencio, Leyva and new signing Leó Chú all making his list.
“Ho-hum, a ball-progressing teenage central midfielder mature beyond his years starting 14 games for the Sounders and not looking out of place whatsoever,” Wiebe wrote of Atencio. “The veterans in Seattle trust Atencio, and you can see why.”
In a similar vein, Wiebe made the case for why Leyva merited inclusion on this year’s list.
“The other half of the Sounders’ teenage midfield duo – he turned 18 in May – Leyva is building career momentum once again after breaking his foot and missing most of 2020,” noted Wiebe.
The list also included a section dedicated to young players signed from abroad this season who’ve shown flashes of immense potential.
“Leó Chú’s first MLS goal was a scrappy one in garbage time, but that wasn’t going to stop the young Brazilian from celebrating with the faux bow and arrow, wrote Wiebe. “He turned profesional during the pandemic and hadn’t played in front of real crowds until he arrived in Seattle. It’s only going to get better for him as he gets more comfortable in the Sounders' setup.”
You can read the full column HERE.