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Australian Defender to Help Sounders to MLS Cup Glory?

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Australian Defender to Help Sounders to MLS Cup Glory?

The MLS season is underway and the early favourites for silverware this season are Los Angeles FC, Columbus Crew, and Seattle Sounders.

LAFC and the Crew are first and second favourites, with the Sounders a bigger price at +900 (10.0) with the best online sites such as bet365. Apart from their reputation in some of the biggest markets in the USA, Bet365 is also one of the leading AU online betting sites and their odds are usually very competitive.

One man the whole of Australia will be casting a keen eye over is former Liverpool player and Penrith native Brad Smith. Seattle are excited about what he has to offer this season, but how has he ended up in the Emerald City?

Smith’s Journey Began at Anfield

Brad Smith moved from Australia to England at the age of 14. He was scouted by Liverpool while playing for his school and was invited along to their academy. He stayed there from 2008 to 2013. On Boxing Day in 2013, Smith was named on the bench away at Manchester City and made his senior debut just a few days later away at Chelsea.

For whatever reason it didn’t work out for him at Anfield, and he was sent on loan to Swindon in 2014 before being sold to Bournemouth in 2016 for an undisclosed fee.

Four years passed and Smith had only made five senior appearances on the south coast. He was beginning to get frustrated with the lack of opportunities. Then Seattle came calling…

Sounders on Loan

In August 2018, Smith was loaned out to the Sounders and swiftly became a fan’s favourite due to his ability to burst forward on the wing and link up with teammates. 

He managed seven assists in 31 appearances for Seattle by the end of 2019 and helped his side to MLS glory in the cup final that year. He was the first ever Australian to win it. 

It was over to Cardiff in Wales for his next club, moving there on loan in January 2020 until heading back to the Sounders in September.

2020 and Beyond in Seattle

It’s taken a while for Smith to regain full fitness and to get back to a stage where he is considered for a regular first team place. But he’s worked extremely hard during the off season and the results are starting to show on the pitch in 2021.

He was named in the MLS team of the week for week 2 after an eye-catching performance against LAFC at the Banc of California Stadium. He scored a header from close range in the game. It ended a barren run in front of goal which lasted over five years and was his first goal since scoring for Liverpool in an FA Cup tie back in January 2016.

“It’s been a while,” Smith told Seattle Sounders’ website. “From the position where I used to play as a left back, I’m generally trying to find the strikers on crosses. This position gives me more freedom to go forward, and Nouhou [Tolo] is my security guard at the back, so I have the freedom to get myself forward and put myself in positions that I wasn’t able to do as a left back. Hopefully, I can add many more to that.”

There’s still a long way to go in the season and Seattle will no doubt be tested numerous times throughout the campaign, but to gain a 1-1 draw away from home against the pre-season MLS Cup favourites bodes well for the future.

If Brad Smith can steer clear of injuries this year and get a full season under his belt, there’s no reason why he cannot help the Sounders to MLS Glory and a third title in 2021, repeating the success of 2019 where they brushed aside Toronto FC in a 3-1 win. Watch this space.

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