Best of Seattle: New Sounder

Tough call, considering the extensive off-season turnover and new midfielders like Marco Pappa and Gonzalo Pineda who quickly became regular and invaluable starters. But what most needed upgrading after 2013, few would disagree, was the Sounders’ back line. Veteran centerback Chad Marshall, 29, who joined the team in December after 10 seasons with the Columbus Crew, has done just that as the keystone of the defense that’s helped secure the team’s spot at the top of the standings for the greater part of the season, and, at 6´3˝, earning the fan nickname “Air Marshall.” Being here has in turn refreshed his career—he was recently chosen for the third time (following 2009 and ’10) for the August 6 MLS All-Star game in Portland. (The downside of Marshall’s importance: The team has lost the three games he’s had to sit out, most recently due to a minor auto mishap. Get well soon!)

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