Editorial — Mt. Rushmore. It’s an iconic piece of American history carved into a large rock in South Dakota. The faces of great presidents like George Washington, Teddy Rosevelt, Abraham Lincoln and Thomas Jefferson look at the American people.
What if Mt. Rushmore got a little makeover? The Seattle Sounders, two-time MLS champions and playoff participants every single year, are worthy enough for the rock. But who would make the list? The Sounders are currently in their 12th season of MLS. There have been plenty of great players to wear the rave green.
Who makes our Mt. Rushmore? Here are the four players we chose.
Once a Sounder, always a Sounder.
Osvaldo “Ozzie” Alonso was with the Sounders from the start. A native of Cuba, Alonso joined Seattle for the inaugural 2009 season. Throughout his Sounders career, Alonso made 277 regular-season appearances. A stalwart in the midfield, Alonso quickly became the face of the franchise.
He wore the captain’s armband for numerous seasons. He was with the team that hoisted the first-ever MLS Cup title in club history in 2016. In an interview with the Sounders, Alonso said he wanted to be remembered as someone who gave their best every time.
“I want people to remember me as someone that came to the United States from a country that wasn’t a soccer-driven country and with sacrifice and effort accomplished what he wanted: play soccer, make his name known and give it his all,” he said.
When thinking of the Sounders, Alonso’s name comes to mind instantly. Meanwhile, it can also be argued that Alonso helped put Seattle on the map with his play in the midfield. He won titles. He won championships.
Alonso was a no-brainer to put on this list.
This clip of Ozzie Alonso and Brian Schmetzer co-hoisting the MLS Cup might give you goosebumps. pic.twitter.com/4n7ZQW2e7N
— Ari Liljenwall (@AriLiljenwall) December 13, 2016
I had the pleasure of meeting Steve Zakuani last year when the Sounders traveled to Columbus for a match in July. He was extremely kind and willing to help me out with any questions that I had before heading to the broadcast booth. The five minutes I got to spend with him were very informative!
When he was on the pitch, Zakuani made 80 regular-season appearances for Seattle. He spent time with the club from its first-ever season in 2009, and departed in 2014. He does lose some points for going to rival Portland for a year, but Zakuani returned to Seattle and has been doing broadcast ever since.
Zakuani also helped change the media landscape for the club. Zakuani does a lot of work with the Sounders social media team to bring great content to fans. He’s been doing a lot to keep fans in the loop during this current COVID-19.
Zakuani is an easily recognizable face in Seattle. His presence on broadcasts and through the Sounders media definitely brings an appeal. Zakuani makes the Mt. Rushmore because of his popularity among the Sounders faithful.
"Who has a better left foot, Nico or Messi?"
"Me, of course"
— Seattle Sounders FC (@SoundersFC) March 27, 2020
It feels cheap to not put a goalkeeper on this list, but how can you not have an all-time Sounders list and not include Fredy Montero?
Montero was part of the first-ever Sounders roster. He remained with the club until 2014. And, he still holds the top spot for being the Sounders leading goal scorer of all time. He has 60 goals to his name. Now retired Clint Dempsey is at the No. 2 slot, but current Sounder Nicolás Lodeiro is in the third slot.
Lodeiro has 45 goals. He’s still way off the mark from Montero, who has 60 goals in his Sounders career. After he left the Sounders, he went to Sporting CP and Tianjin TEDA. However, since 2019, he has featured for the Vancouver Whitecaps.
Vancouver is one of Seattle’s rivals, due to the Cascadia Cup. However, Vancouver is not as big as a rival to Seattle like how Portland is. He doesn’t lose as many points for going to a rival team, but it’s certainly a strange look to Sounders fans.
Montero’s name will forever be etched in Sounders history. He never won a title in Seattle, but he did lift the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup trophy three times.
Will Montero’s record ever be broken? Either way, if it does, he’ll still be a beloved member of the Sounders organization and its history.
Hear me out.
The Sounders have only ever had two coaches in the club’s history. The legendary, late Sigi Schmid, and Brian Schmetzer. If we’re going by titles, then Schmetzer is a no-brainer. He was in charge when the Sounders took home the title in 2016 and 2019.
However, we’re not just going on titles here. We’re going on perseverance. That’s not to say that Schmid never had any moments where he persevered. He certainly overcame a lot of challenges during his coaching career. However, Schmetzer was tossed into a situation where he had to pull Seattle out of a rut, and follow in the legendary footsteps of Schmid.
Schmetzer helped keep Seattle’s playoff streak alive. Even in the Schmetzer era, Seattle has started off seasons slow. However, he and Garth Lagerwey work together to find the perfect players to fit the Sounders puzzle. Somehow, it just clicks, Seattle gets out of a rut and the team makes the playoffs.
Schmetzer is one of the greatest coaches to ever feature in MLS. Seattle has no intention of letting their mastermind go. He makes the list for his creativity, titles and his ability to always keep Seattle alive.
Plenty of room for more. ✭✭ pic.twitter.com/nkqNsSmAkP
— Seattle Sounders FC (@SoundersFC) April 9, 2020
Final Thoughts on Sounders Mt. Rushmore
There are a lot of players who could be considered Sounders royalty. Leaving names like Obafemi Martins, Clint Dempsey, Chad Marshall and Eddie Johnson off the list was a tough task. Even current players like Stefan Frei and Lodeiro are worthy of being Sounders royalty.
However, the four players and coaches listed above are at the top of the Sounders royal family list.