The Seattle Sounders’ attacking showing might have received most of the headlines from Sunday night’s 3-0 thumping of the New England Revolution, but head coach Sigi Schmid was equally impressed with one member of his team’s backline.
Schmid was speaking to MLSSoccer.com after seeing Clint Dempsey net either side of an Obafemi Martins strike to give his side a comfortable 3-0 win in their 2015 season opener at CenturyLink Field.
Having kept most of the roster from their Supporters’ Shield-winning campaign intact, the Sounders had just one debutant in the starting XI, with former Premier League defender Tyrone Mears making his first MLS appearance since a winter switch to the Pacific North West.
Taking DeAndre Yedlin’s place at right-back, following the US international's offseason move to Tottenham Hotspur, the ex-Derby County and Burnley immediately eased concerns over whether he will be able to prove a capable replacement with a first-rate run out.
Looking impressive both in defence and attack, he stood out as a constant problem for the New England defence and even managed to pick up the assist for Obafemi Martins’ 41st-minute header with a pinpoint ball into the box after streaking down the flank.
His impact certainly wasn’t lost on Schmid, who singled him out for particular praise at the final whistle, declaring: “[Mears] picked some good moments to go forward, and when he goes forward he’s generally effective. And tonight was an example of that.
“I think that’s what you’re going to see. I thought defensively he was pretty solid back there, and I thought he also helped us with our attack in some vital moments.
“We want to do a better job defensively,” he added. “I told [the team], ‘You know when the bell rings,’ and they were ready tonight when the bell rang. They were ready to play.”
Mears, 32, had been without a club for five months prior to joining the Sounders, having struggled to find a new team in England after leaving Bolton Wanderers in the summer.
The MLS newboy had made just 32 total appearances for the Trotters over three seasons, due to a career-threatening leg break, but is now fit and ready to prove a core contributor to a side which are one of the favourites for the 2015 MLS Cup crown.