Best Offense, or Bestest Offense?

Jane G Photography

It is not yet a third of the way through the season and despite a poor start people are talking about the greatness of the offense. They may be right and it all comes down to Neagle.

Back in 2011 the Seattle Sounders had a great offense. The star was Fredy Montero, as it was for each of the first four years of the club (debate '12 and EJ if you want), but the offense was really about the midfield stepping up and scoring quite a bit. Alvaro Fernandez was the real symbol of doing something different. He netted nine in league play. Rosales, Evans and Alonso would all put away five goals as well. It was a diverse attack built from the engine room. It lacked a permanent other forward. White, Levesque, Jaqua, Noonan, Fucito, and Ochoa would all get a run up top. No other team had as good an attack as Seattle and yet it missed that major piece.

Just over a year later and Sigi Schmid has another forward, even if the preferred pairing is still another month from getting an extended run. Obafemi Martins already has three goals. Eddie Johnson has four. Lamar Neagle won the third forward spot with three on his own. While they are not doing it in the style of the Earthquakes or Sporting KC, the Sounders have three forwards who, if they play 1800 minutes each (due to national team calls and injuries and sometimes slotting in wide positions is possible) and just convert at league average rates for the rest of those minutes, would each reach 10 or more goals.

But wait there's more!

Mauro Rosales and Brad Evans are still scoring. Mario Martinez and Steve Zakuani are not, but they also are not playing like they were expected to when Oshan rosily projected a strong offense despite the loss of Montero. They are going to get MLS time. Again if they convert chances at MLS standard rates that group puts in another 17 goals. It would take some adjustments from that group. Some improvements in finishing, but we've already watched others improve on early season woes, some improvements in spacing (clearly happening) and some rapid transitions to attack.

At this point I will show my work.

Bestest_offense_medium

Assumed minutes means what you think. Shot and On Goals are if the player proceeds at same rate. Assumed goals are if those minutes are played and the player only puts in as many goals as league average players would with those minutes, plus the goals they've already scored.

There may be errors, because soccer doesn't really work like this. It's really just a giant experiment to see if this offense is awesome.

Danger Will Robinson

Eight goals in two games is serious excitement. Three-match winning streaks are a blast, but Seattle was never as poor as their record. It probably is not this good either, but it is good. This is the roster that many expected to challenge for the top seed in the West. It is a roster of BoomBoom, ObaFlip and 253 with more waiting in the wings for their chance.

There is still two-thirds of the season left and a lot can happen. That does not mean that the offense is not good. It may even be fixed. It may not be bestest, but that's just because there are 24 matches left to prove that amazing is still possible.

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