Rave green in Trouble
It’s that time of year again folks, time for the mid season report card for your Seattle Sounders FC. Luckily we still have the U.S. Open Cup to cheer for, because league play has been atrocious of late.
Without a win in their last seven league matches, coach Sigi Schmid has to do something to turn this around for the Sounders.
They were supposed to compete for the MLS Cup this year, but currently are sitting 4th (25 pts), 8 points behind the San Jose Earthquakes in the western conference, whom they defeated Tuesday night to advance in the U.S. Open Cup tournament.
One of the biggest problems so far has been injuries, it’s been hard for the Sounders to field their starting eleven each and every week.
With games missed by Mauro Rosales, Steve Zakuani, Michael Gspurning, Eddie Johnson, and Alvaro Fernandez due to injury, plus more games missed by Osvaldo Alonso, Jhon Kennedy Hurtado, Alvaro Fernandez, and now in the next match Freddy Montero, due to red cards, it has been hard to gain momentum with all the holes in the lineup.
So here is my mid-season report for the Sounders FC.
FC Dallas, Away. 2-0
Even though FC Dallas was without their superstar Breck Shea for much of the match, the Sounders were able to go into the hostile Pizza Hut Park and come away with the three points.
FC Dallas is another team that is struggling this season, who also should be among the league leaders in points and competing for the MLS Cup this year.
Montreal Impact Away. 1-4
This game was lost early. After the Sounders went down within the first 20 minutes, they just never fought back.
This game also was the first of the red card barrage that the Sounders are now in the middle of.
Jhon Kennedy Hurtado was sent off on a very weak call by the ref, but Eddie Johnson was able to grab a goal a man down late in the match.
This category is normally reserved for the player with the most goals, or the keeper with the most clean sheets, but in my opinion, the Sounders would be a lot worse if not for the play of Osvaldo Alonso.
As we have seen, when Alonso is not in the game, the team, especially defensively, looks lost. He is the anchor of the midfield, yet can and will come up offensively and help out defensively as well.
There is no replacing him with any player on our current roster.
Most Improved Player
Zach Scott has this locked down in my book. Not only is he seeing regular starting action, but he has become the go to guy for long throw ins this year as well.
Throw in the fact that he finds space on corner kicks, and you’ve got yourself a pretty special defender.
With the injury to Michael Gspurning, rookie keeper Bryan Meredith stepped in and has played pretty well, with the exception of the game in Montreal.
The last game Meredith was benched, and rightfully so after allowing four goals, even though three of them were the defenders fault.
But he still has come in, and kept the Sounders in reach of games, even if we are not winning them all.
Eddie Johnson fits this bill perfectly. It seems that he is not the team player that the Sounders thought they were getting, or at least I thought we were getting.
Countless times, I have seen the glares that he gives Freddy Montero on the pitch when the ball does not end up on Johnson’s foot.
Plus add in the fact that he would rather show off his dribbling skills than pass to an open player, or the fact that he only plays defense when the ball is stripped from him, and you have a ball hog that needs help.
This is one of the reasons that the Sounders are on their recent skid. One player who wants to pad his stat sheet ruins a highly tuned offensive machine like the Sounders.
With hopefully the worst part of the season behind us, it is time to look at some important fixtures coming up on the Sounders schedule.
Here are the six that I see with the biggest implications for the Sounders:
7/4/12 Real Salt Lake Away. RSL is always a tough team, especially at Rio Tinto.
7/7/12 Colorado Rapids Home. Hopefully Steve Zakuani will be back in form for this match up, and score the winning goal!
8/18/12 Vancouver Whitecaps Home. Second match up with the Caps. Cascadia match, enough said.
9/15/12 Portland Timbers Away. Another Cascadia match, and a chance to redeem the ugly loss at Jeld-Wen Field.
10/7/12 Portland Timbers Home. Yes the Cascadia matches are important! Especially if we continue this trend of not winning, at least we can hope for the Cup to stay in Seattle.
10/28/12 L.A. Galaxy Away. Final game on the docket, and hopefully it won’t come down to this to reach the playoffs. The Home Depot Center is a tough place to play, especially against the Galaxy.
I think the Sounders have done a decent job so far this season with all of their setbacks, but not at all where they should be. The fact that we are still in fourth place, five points clear of L.A. is a miracle.
The Sounders have one of the best squads that money can buy in the MLS, many of the players are underrated, but that is just what Sigi Schmid wants.
We are a team to be scared of when firing on all cylinders.
Let’s hope the second half is a lot more promising than the first ended up being.
Hands down the best goal of the first half of the season goes to Patrick Ianni.
On a fee kick about 10 yards outside the box, Mauro Rosales put his cross in perfectly avoiding any defenders.
Ianni then took a stutter step forward before coming back for the ball. With a mid air volley, Ianni put the ball past the keeper for an equalizing goal against Sporting Kansas City.
Here is the video of the goal.