Falk sounded off, and has really represented what a majority of fans are thinking. The Sounders haven't done enough in the off-season. They haven't added any names. And yet, is that an indication that they have wasted an opporutnity?
Are we really going to think that a surprise draft pick (David Estrada), a resurgent former 2nd Team All-American (Mike Fucito) and a precisely tuned offense are going to get this team to be the offensive power that we once that it should be?
I actually think so. There are some numbers to back it up, but they lack significant size.
So we are left with anecdotal stuff. The 24th Minute recently published the top 50 players in MLS. There were 3 Sounders attacking players in the top 37, 2 in the top 15. And yet the offense struggled. Steve Zakuani has been the focus of Sigi, trying to get him to be just a bit more decisive, a bit more productive.
Is this really just a team that needed only tweaking and not an overhaul?
4th on the Table. One Cup in Year One.
But an early exit from Playoffs
Two points shy of the Shield
That says to me tweaking, not churn is all that is necessary. Sure the defense is bound to regress a bit, but the offense actually gets better by regressing. Nate Jaqua's 10 and 8 was a DOWN year for him, as his Shots on Target %s well down from his average. Montero, Ljungberg, Zakuani are all learning the league.
Freddie Ljungberg is every bit as capable of being as good as Jaime Moreno. He ended the season in a very similar role, and ended the season as the Player of the Month. Fredy Montero can be a Juan Pablo Angel type (he was damn close). Seriously, this isn't about risk, this is about a team that was nearly the best expansion side in the history of sports, that UNDERPERFORMED.
Sure there are 36 scheduled matches at this point (30 League, 3 Friendly, 2 CCL, 1 Open Cup) and that could grow to add another 10. Depth may be an issue, but peak performance, from this team and this staff?
I don't think so.
Am I saying there aren't holes? No. Am I saying I wish the Sounders had borrowed (that's the opposite of loan right?) Nashat Akram from FC Twente or Khalfan Ibrahim from al-Sadd? Certainly. But adding talent to a team that has yet to gel would be no guarantee either.
We have no baseline for performance yet. RSL, Fire, Galaxy, United, Dynamo, Revolution all have major losses this year. Sounders FC, not so much. I don't want to get in the habit of writing rebuttal pieces, but I think that the Sounders Nation (as channeled quite well by Falk) is wrong on this point.
I see Sounders as 3 deep at Forward - Ljungberg, Montero, Jaqua
4 Deep on the Wing - Zakuani, Jaqua, Fucito and Estrada
4 Deep in the Center - Evans, Alonso, Vagenas and Estrada
3 Deep in the Fullbacks - Gonzalez, Scott, Riley
4 Deep in the Centerhalf - Hurtado, Marshall, Ianni and Graham
Roger Levesque can slot into several roles effectively as well
Oh, and they still have the best American Keeper in history in the pipes, with a hell of a battle for the #2
Churn let's you become Toronto FC. Champions only tweak.