Tukwila – It wasn’t long until Ethan Dobellary was the next up-and-coming prospect at the Seattle Sounders. When he signed his first team contract in June of 2020, he was just 17 years old and had some great performances for the Tacoma Defiance and several youth national teams.
Two years later, it’s hard to know what his future might hold. But at least he’s playing again.
Saturday was the first time in nearly seven months that Doblery has played in a competitive match. After moving to right-back and spending most of 2021 with Defiance, Dobbelaere was sent on loan from Czech second-tier side MFK Vyškov. He played in one game pre-season before he broke his hand and then returned to Seattle for rehab with the Sounders.
The loan was supposed to run through the end of May, but it was officially canceled last week, paving the way for him to play against FC Dallas. Dobbelaere was solid if not spectacular, connecting his passes and contributing defensively as right-back in 3-4-2-1
“I would say it exceeded my expectations,” Sounders coach Brian Schmitzer said. “We played with him all over the place, we didn’t really connect with him. Baby performed. But there are a few things he could improve.”
Schmetzer referred to FC Dallas’ first goal as one educational opportunity for Dobellieri, but there was plenty of blame to be placed on many players. Among those other ‘training points’ was the midfield area’s need to flatten out a bit, Nohu having to close more aggressively, Christian Roldan filling the spaces a bit faster as well as Dobellari’s role.
He needed to keep in touch [eventual goal-scorer] “Jesus Ferreira,” Schmitzer said. “There were probably four different training points where we scored that goal.”
For his part, Dobbelaere was mostly happy to be back playing again. He accepted the loan to Vyškov in hopes of getting more chances to play at a time when he was likely to be buried on the Sounders’ depth chart and Defiance wasn’t playing yet. He was only there for six weeks before he broke his hand.
“I had a lot of fun,” Doblery told reporters on Monday. “I definitely have a lot to learn. It was a different kind of football to adapt to, but I started to adapt.
“It felt more direct and physical.”
Sanders’ best chance to seize some control of the Dallas game came in the 23rd minute when Liu Zhou found himself in a state of separation. After displaying some impressive speed to take advantage of Dallas’ slip, Cho only had a shot on target from 25 yards. Schmetzer said he would have liked to see Chú take another touch and show more composure in the situation, but was delighted to find that Fredy Montero and Jimmy Medranda had taken it upon themselves to talk to the young Brazilian about the play.
“That’s what I love about this team,” Schmitzer said. “They do a lot of the training themselves.”
Once the kings of the US Open, the Sounders came into Wednesday’s game against the San Jose Earthquakes in a three-game losing streak stretching into the 2017 championship. While many first-choice players are unlikely to start in that game, Schmetzer is taking it seriously Grandfather the idea of restoring the Mojo Sounders, especially on the field where they were particularly dominant. The Sounders have a record 21-1-1 on Starfire Soccer in the Open Cup.
“The Open Cup is something we’ve traditionally succeeded in,” Schmitzer said. “We have to understand the expectations.”