Following an MLS Cup title in 2016, the Seattle Sounders, in their first full season under Brian Schmetzer, came up just short in their bid for back-to-back crowns.
The core of the group returns for Seattle and, with the addition of a few fresh faces, the Sounders have the depth and the quality to challenge once again.
But will Schmetzer and company be able to get the most out of an aging roster and bring home another title?
How did the Seattle Sounders perform in 2017?
2017 finish: Second in Western Conference (14-9-11), lost to Toronto FC in the MLS Cup final.
Seattle finished level on points with Portland at the top of the Western Conference in the regular season but finished second in the table because the Timbers had more wins.
After a run through the Western Conference playoffs that featured comfortable wins over the Vancouver Whitecaps and Houston Dynamo, the Sounders found themselves outclassed in the final against a historically strong Toronto team, falling 2-0.
Seattle's key offseason losses
The most notable loss for the Sounders was Joevin Jones, who moved to Darmstadt on a free transfer. The left back, who also spent a good amount of time on the wing for Seattle, was second on the team in assists in 2017.
Winger Lamar Neagle, goalkeeper Tyler Miller, midfielder Aaron Kovar and defender Oniel Fisher are among the list of bit-part players to have also left Seattle this offseason, though none of them compares to Jones in terms of production for the Sounders.
The club also saw veteran defender-midfielder Brad Evans, who had struggled with injuries in recent years, depart for Sporting Kansas City.
Seattle's key offseason additions
The Sounders acquired Waylon Francis from the Columbus Crew in a trade and the defender looks set to compete for a starting spot.
Seattle also brought in midfielder Magnus Wolff Eikrem, who adds depth to a group already loaded with high-end MLS players.
Full Seattle Sounders roster entering 2018 season
Goalkeepers: Stefan Frei, Bryan Meredith
Defenders: Tony Alfaro, Markus Fjortoft, Waylon Francis, Caleb Duvernay, Kelvin Leerdam, Chad Marshall, Jordan McCrary, Nouhou, Roman Torres
Midfielders: Osvaldo Alonso, Handwalla Bwana, Jordy Delem, Magnus Wolff Eikrem, Nicolás Lodeiro, Zach Mathers, Víctor Rodríguez, Alex Roldan, Harry Shipp, Gustav Svensson, Henry Wingo
Forwards: Seyi Adekoya, Will Bruin, Clint Dempsey, Jordan Morris
Seattle Sounders projected starting lineup
The Sounders have enough options that this lineup is far from set in stone.
It starts up top with Morris, who could play as the lone strike as we have it here, be joined in a two-forward set by Dempsey or Bruin, or play on the wing with Bruin up top. Bruin could even win the starting job and replace Morris outright.
In the midfield, expect to see Svensson and Eikrem used in various spots, with Svensson an option to start across the back line as well.
Seattle Sounders' national TV coverage
Seattle Sounders vs. Los Angeles FC - Sunday, March 4, at 5 p.m. ET on ESPN
Sporting Kansas City vs. Seattle Sounders - Saturday, April 15, at 4 p.m. ET on ESPN
Seattle Sounders vs. Minnesota United - Sunday, April 22, at 4 p.m. ET on ESPN
Los Angeles FC vs. Seattle Sounders - Sunday, April 29, at 9 p.m. ET on FS1
Toronto FC vs. Seattle Sounders - Wednesday, May 9, at 7:30 p.m. ET on FS1
Portland Timbers vs. Seattle Sounders - Sunday, May 13, at 4 p.m. ET on ESPN
Seattle Sounders vs. Portland Timbers - Saturday, June 30, at 4:30 p.m. ET on Fox
Atlanta United vs. Seattle Sounders - Sunday, June 24, at 2 p.m. ET on Fox
New York City FC vs. Seattle Sounders - Saturday, July 29, at 5 p.m. ET on ESPN
Seattle Sounders vs. FC Dallas - Sunday, Aug. 12, at 8 p.m. ET on FS1
Seattle Sounders vs. LA Galaxy - Saturday, Aug. 18, at 3:30 p.m. ET on ESPN
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Portland Timbers vs. Seattle Sounders - Sunday, Aug. 26, at 9:30 p.m. ET on FS1
LA Galaxy vs. Seattle Sounders - Sunday, Sept. 23, at 7 p.m. ET on FS1