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Tons o’ talent on the field for Seattle-Santos in Champions League

US striker Herculez Gomez (L) fights for

US striker Herculez Gomez (L) fights for the ball with Algeria’s defender Anther Yahia during their Group C first round 2010 World Cup football match on June 23, 2010 at Loftus Verfeld stadium in Tshwane/Pretoria. NO PUSH TO MOBILE / MOBILE USE SOLELY WITHIN EDITORIAL ARTICLE - AFP PHOTO / HOANG DINH NAM (Photo credit should read HOANG DINH NAM/AFP/Getty Images)

AFP/Getty Images

Funny thing about tonight’s important CONCACAF Champions League match in Seattle: There’s one player who could take the field downtown in the Sound who was in South Africa 20 months ago as a member of the United States national team. But it wasn’t one of the Seattle Sounders.

The Sounders have a wealth of talent, including Osvaldo Alonso, whom I’ve already tapped as a potential league MVP, never mind that holding midfielders NEVER win league MVPs. *

Flashy striker Fredy Montero has been in crackerjack form in the preseason. So says Seattle FC manager Sigi Schmid. Midfielder Brad Evans keeps tippy-toeing the fringes of the U.S. player pool. Jhon Kennedy Hurtado looks to be the imposing center back he was before injury sucked some fizz from the soda last year.

Sounders teammate Mauro Rosales was without question the bargain of Major League Soccer in 2011. Probably the bargain-est MLS bargain of all time, an MVP candidate who was making about 50K. (Seattle gave him a new deal this year, one believed to have meandered into Designated Player territory. Never been there myself, but I hear it’s lovely land.)

For that tiny 2011 sum, Rosales became the 2011 MLS Newcomer of the Year set a Sounders record with 13 assists, third best in MLS, while also contributing five goals.

Anyway, you get it. Lots of talent for the Sigi Sounders this year at CenturyLink Field. So, who is the former U.S. World Cupper?

It’s Santos striker Herculez Gomez. He’ll be on the spot, although probably off the bench, as Santos deals with the arty turf and cool weather in Seattle tonight.

* long-standing pet peeve, which I’ve written about several times before. Grrrr!