Dave: When I first watched DeAndre Yedlin he was a young kid playing for the first ever Seattle Sounders Academy team. From there he graced the following teams constantly ratcheting up expectations while shooting down doubters - University of Akron, Sounders U-23s, US U-20s, Seattle Sounders FC first team, full US National Team. Then he stalled out. His transfer to Tottenham ended a stretch where he was clearly an attacking fullback and people started thinking that he would be another American failure in Europe, or maybe just a decent winger off the bench. With you Sunderland faithful he has a chance to reboot that career arc.
Here's what you're getting.
Attack: Yedlin loves to get forward. His short passing is more than adequate at any level, but his crossing needs to continue the improvements we saw from his first season to second season here. If that's the case he can add overlapping to the great underlapping runs that create havoc for defenses that don't expect right backs to be in narrower spaces than right mids. His shot is accurate enough for a back, but not something you want to count on actually scoring. On attacking set-pieces he should be as a safety preventing the opposition from starting a counter on failure.
Defense: This is where he needs the most work. While the easy critique is his positioning (he's forward so much) that is corrected either by his speed or a coaching him to sit back a bit more. In year two he did more of that, but it limits his greatest asset (that speed that makes managers drool). When defending on-ball he is good. His quick feet can stab the ball away without going to ground. For such a small body he's willing to use it enough that it isn't a weakness. DeAndre's time with Sunderland and latter Tottenham will be judged almost entirely on how successful he and the managers he works for are at timing those runs and working formations around the knowledge that he's capable of running past the midfield and flooding the opposing defense. That gaping hole behind him can be an issue. On set-pieces his ideal role is starting the break after his teammates stop the initial kick.
Physique: His speed is obvious. Just watch what he did in Brazil 2014 to see how he controlled legit world stars. He's fairly strong for his size and like most Americans will not shy from contact.
Attitude: Yedlin is a joy to be around. His smile is infectious and his drive is clear. He didn't get overwhelmed in from of 65,000+ in Seattle or in Manasus. Until the transfer to Spurs he routinely proved the soccerati here in the States wrong. I have no doubt that he wants to do that again. I expect him to do it.
He's one of us. He's born of born of sea and sky. He is carved from peaks and pine.
DeAndre Yedlin is Seattle, Washington, Cascadia. I'm jealous that you get to watch him.
Sounderland will be watching Sunderland.