There's a lot that I could say as I go over my notes (mental and physical) from the first two matches of the Sounders 2011 season. There are numerous angles I could take, focusing on personnel and formations, suggesting that certain players may not be fitting in in certain places, looking at substitution patterns, looking at matchups and styles. Thing is, none of that really matters right now...
We have not been necessarily outplayed in either match, but both of our opponents demonstrated a certain pedigree which showed itself, at times clearly. I also can't say that in either match the Sounders walked away with a clear advantage in overall play.
The fact is, we have allowed 2 goals in 180 minutes against two of the teams widely marked as Supporters Shield contenders. The other fact is, goals win games, and the Sounders lack of finishing is why they are yet to get a result after two matches.
Sometimes it IS that simple, and in our case, it most certainly is.
You can't overlook the fact that NYRB generated 11 corners to the Sounders 0 on Saturday, and you can't overlook the number of times the Galaxy worked the ball into very dangerous positions on Tuesday. But I don't see defense as a problem, even though Hurtado has looked shaky and Gonzo nearly a liability at times.
It is hard to put my finger on the Sounders attack, but they strike me as impatient and out of sorts; too willing to try to force potentially dangerous, but low percentage, crosses or long passes, rather than work possession and create openings. Fernandez's style seems more suited to the middle: it is a stark contrast to what we usually saw from Sounders wingers last year who were determined to run at opponents and create openings with their legs (it is no great mystery to me why he has been substituted in both matches). OBW has missed too many chances, and seems unsure of what to do with himself much of the rest of the time (TFC fans would surely have a good laugh at some of the comments I've seen floating around). Friberg is no Zakuani, and when he was in the middle he seemed a touch reckless.
But given all these foibles, the fact remains the Sounders have produced some utterly gilt-edged chances, and simply failed to score.
This is a familiar story, and something which has dogged the team throughout the first two years of their existence.
It doesn't help that this team seems unfamiliar with each other, something that was supposed to have been worked out by now. It doesn't help that a team looking to build Continental depth now looks dangerously thin in League play (if Levesque and Neagle are your options off the bench to bolster the attack you are in serious trouble).
I wish I had it in me to produce a comprehensive tactical breakdown and explain how and where its gone wrong, but I'm afraid that would just be a waste of time. This team just needs to score goals; it Really is that simple.