Reed Baker-Whiting earned his fourth start of the 2023 MLS regular season on Saturday night after impressing in Seattle's 2-1 win over Austin FC a few weeks back. The 18-year-old Sounders Academy alum capitalized on that opportunity with one of his best outings to date for the Rave Green, showcasing some of the progress he has made this season.
Not only did the Homegrown Player provide an offensive spark in the 1-1 draw against FC Dallas through an assist in the second half, but it was also his first of his MLS career, making the statistic that much more significant.
“It definitely feels good,” said Baker-Whiting. “It's something I've been working on a lot.”
After winning a 1-v-1 battle down the left flank, Baker-Whiting’s vision to pinpoint Alex Roldan at the back post and serve him a ball for him to finish one-time demonstrated how impactful he was in taking home a point for Seattle.
“Once I looked my head up, I saw there was Jordan at the back post, and then Alex behind him, and so I know if I put the ball up there, either Jordan gets his head on it if it's short, and if it's long, Alex gets it,” said Baker-Whiting. “So, I was just trying to put the ball into a dangerous spot.”
Baker-Whiting’s typical role this season has been mainly as a fullback, but tonight’s efforts at left wingback in the second half showcased his ability to be effective across several positions.
“When Reed went up to the midfield, we found a little bit more of an attack on the left hand side and that’s how the goal came and the assist came,” said Roldan. “So, props to Reed for going up there and putting a little bit of pressure on their backline, attacking their fullback and just kind of getting them on their heels, which is what we needed.”
But this isn’t the first time Head Coach Brian Schmetzer has noticed what Baker-Whiting is capable of on the pitch.
“Reed has made big strides this year,” said Schmetzer. “He's a very talented kid. He plays well on the right, a couple games back showed some versatility that he could play on the left and still do the same job and still be effective. So, it's always handy to have one player that can play on both sides of the field if needed.”
“He's really taken some big steps forward this year, and it's a credit to him.”
Baker-Whiting and the Sounders are looking to maintain that mentality as they are back on the road on Wednesday (6:30 p.m. PT; MLS Season Pass on Apple TV, 950 KJR AM, El Rey1360AM) to face the Colorado Rapids