Socceroos defender Brad Smith has made a dream start to life in the MLS, notching up two goals and an assist in three games for the Seattle Sounders.
Smith had previously enjoyed a successful loan spell in the Emerald City, capping off his two season stint by helping the Sounders lift the 2019 MLS Cup before returning to parent club Bournemouth.
But unable to break into the side, Smith was once again sent out on loan, this time to Championship side Cardiff City but struggled to make an impact there.
He returned to Seattle ahead of the 2021 MLS season, signing a permanent deal following the expiration of his contract with the Cherries.
Now Smith seems to be thriving in Brian Schmeltzer’s 3-5-2 formation, his role as a left wing-back giving him more opportunities to get forward and play more of an attacking role.
It’s paying dividends for both player and club, as Smith opened his Sounders account, just his second goal of his professional career, with a 54th minute equaliser against LAFC last week.
The Liverpool Academy product was in fine form once against another California side this week, setting up Raúl Ruidíaz’s opener before popping up with Seattle’s second in a 3-0 demolition of LA Galaxy on Sunday.
After the match, Socceroo Smith, 27, said the team is adapting to the new formation while he’s also settling into life as a wingback.
“It’s been different," he admitted. "It's obviously a new formation and everyone’s learning different positions but you can see the progress we’ve made in the three games.
"From the first game, first half we started off a bit shaky and you can see us slowly progressing to where we want to be. And the good thing is, we are getting the results and we can only get better.
"We’re still learning the formation, and that’s a positive and we can’t wait to keep this run going and keep improving on theses performances."
Smith, chasing his 23rd Socceroo cap when coach Graham Arnold names his squad for the upcoming World Cup qualifiers, added: “For me personally, it’s good that I can go forward and join the attack.
"I’ve got my security guard Nouhou [Tolo] behind me to wrap things up which definitely helps, so I get forward more and help the team.
“As an out and out left back, my qualities are going forward as I’ve shown over the years that I’ve been playing here as a left back and maybe I need to work on my defensive side, but this formation allows me to go forward.
"Nouhou is such a good defender at 1 v 1 and we balance each other out. I can go forward and he can cover me, and it’s allowing me to show my qualities.”