Sounders defender looks to avenge messy offseason breakup
A couple months after parting ways with D.C. United, Sounders FC's Marc Burch is motivated to prove to his former team that it made the wrong decision in letting him go.
Seattle Times staff reporter
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TUKWILA — Marc Burch has mostly fond memories of his five seasons with D.C. United.
He remembers playing alongside MLS greats like Jaime Moreno, Ben Olsen, Christian Gomez and Luciano Emilio. He also recalls a dominant 9-0-4 run late in the 2007 season, the same year he established himself as a regular on the team and in the league.
"People used to come (to RFK Stadium) and fear us a little bit," Burch said. "That was a cool thing."
But the veteran defender most clearly remembers a messy breakup in the offseason, particularly when the team declined to pick up the option on his contract.
So months later, and now settled with Sounders FC, consider Burch highly motivated heading into Seattle's 4:30 p.m. road game Saturday against his former team.
"They had the opportunity to keep me and they didn't," said the 27-year-old, who played collegiately at Maryland. "It's time to go back and prove that I don't believe their left back is better than I am. If that's what they think, then that's what they think.
"It's time to go back there and prove that we have a much better team here."
Burch said the relationship soured when D.C. United officials wanted to renegotiate his contract. He wasn't interested in taking a pay cut, feeling his five seasons there had proved his worth, and knew it was time to find a new team.
That team was Sounders FC.
Due to Burch's veteran status in the league, he had to go through the MLS Re-Entry Process before he could join another club. Seattle traded up to the No. 1 spot in the draft order to take him and Burch has started all three MLS games this season — recording an assist in an opening-day win against Toronto FC.
Coach Sigi Schmid knows players are often amped up to play their former teams but warned that sometimes they can get "over-motivated."
"That can work against you a little bit," Schmid said.
That's worth noting with Burch, who might have let the emotions get the best of him in Saturday's loss to San Jose. The defender was whistled for a needless foul against Earthquakes forward Steven Lenhart in the penalty box; it appeared to be retaliatory move and resulted in the penalty kick that led to the only goal of the game.
For Burch, being a part of a good situation with the Sounders helps him focus on the future.
"RFK Stadium used to be one of the best places in the league to play," Burch said. "Now it's Seattle, for sure."
• Midfielder Brad Evans (hamstring) and forward Eddie Johnson (hip) completed Tuesday's practice without any setbacks or issues — a good sign regarding their availability Saturday.
Midfielder Mauro Rosales (knee) will likely miss another game, but could return for an April 14 home game against Colorado, according to Schmid.
Determinations still need to be made on defenders Jhon Kennedy Hurtado (pelvis) and Adam Johansson (hamstring), and they will be evaluated again Wednesday. Schmid said the team will travel Thursday with 20 players — only 18 can suit up — due to the uncertainty regarding some of the injuries.
• The Sounders have placed Babayele Sodade on the disabled list. The rookie forward tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee while serving with the Canadian Olympic qualifying team.
Joshua Mayers: 206-464-3184 or email@example.com.
On Twitter: @joshuamayers