No matter how you judge a defenses effectiveness (Goals Against 8th in MLS, Shots Against 7th in MLS) Seattle Sounders FC are basically league average. With a player on the line who should be on the short list for Newcomer of the Year, a keeper that challenged for awards in 2012 and a left back having a great season all sitting behind the great Alonso those numbers are a bit disappointing.
Generally Djimi Traore is happy with the team defense. He hopes for a better overall shape and emphasizes that defense is a team event. But there is one thing that needs to get better.
"I would say that the thing that needs to be improved is set pieces," Traore told Sounder at Heart Wednesday. "We need to work on it and be more focused. We are very good defenders, but on set pieces there are times when we have problems with marking, mistakes where we fall asleep. It's not a good situation."
He takes some of the blame and spreads the rest around the roster.
"It's every game it's always a different player. Sometimes it can be me, or Jhon, or Scott, or a midfield player. For example last game it was a misunderstanding between Mauro and some of the other players. It's an unusual mistake," he said, "but we need to work on it and be more focused. I think when we play in the Playoff that kind of thing, small details, can make the difference."
Just 18 games into the season the club is 3-4-4 in matches decided by zero or one goals. With 2.52 goals per match a single goal against is a dramatic shift in chances to win. So is a single goal scored by the team. Traore also wants the defenders to get better at that.
"It's not only defensive set pieces. We need to work on offensive as well," he said. "We have very good players and some very good deliverers. When Mauro crosses, takes the corner or free kick he's a good deliverer. Today he doesn't too many assists, but it's fair to put the blame on him, because honestly it's up to us."