Sounders sit on top of the table and boast the joint best defense in the league but the Sounders sit mid pack in goals scored. The Sounders roster which includes Oba Martins, Clint Dempsey, and Eddie Johnson has only 37 goals through 27 games or 1.37 goals per game. It looks bad considering the amount of money splashed to get these guys but when you dig a little deeper it is obvious there is no need to worry.
Oba Martins has played just 1204 minutes out of a possible 2430 minutes and has 8 goals to show for his efforts or a goal every 150.5 minutes. To put it in perspective the league’s leading goal scorer has 18 goals in 2144 minutes (a goal every 119.11 minutes) and second has 16 goals in 2261 minutes (a goal every 141.31 minutes). In conclusion Martins may not be lighting up the league but his goals per minute are very solid.
Clint Dempsey just signed and has been in preseason form up to this point. In just 355 minutes or roughly 4 games Dempsey has taken 18 shots (a shot every 19.72 minutes) and suffered 14 fouls (or 3.5 fouls suffered per game). The league leader in shots taken has one shot every 20.44 minutes. The league leader in fouls suffered before the last round of games was 2.83 fouls suffered per game. As you can see Dempsey’s lack of goals is not from lack of trying.
Eddie Johnson is in a similar situation to Martins with 1377 minutes played and 7 goals. Not the best but top ten in the league for goals per minute. For Johnson part of the struggle at the beginning of the season was lack of service but in recent times the service has been of a much higher quality and Johnson has been getting his headers on target.
Not being able to get the big stars in a normal routine has certainly hampered their production and caused the Sounders offense overall to struggle. If it wasn’t for Lamar Neagle and his 8 goals the Sounders would be in jeopardy of not making the playoffs instead of playing for the Supporters Shield. Neagle has consistently stepped up in the absence of the other forwards and happens to be in scintillating form at the moment.
Mauro Rosales had a rough start to the season but has been in good form as of late and brought his tally of assists up to 7. Rosales’ leadership and the bond he has created with Yedlin are more important than his stats. The Rosales/Yedlin partnership has really started to come together in the last 5-6 games and may well become something special if given time.
Depending on how the Sounders lineup there is a maximum of 4 positions available for the 5 players above. This will be the first week of practice where all of the pieces to the puzzle are in training and ready to play on Saturday. The next 4 days of practice could very well define the direction of the team for the remainder of the season. Sigi’s dilemma is not a bad one but it certainly is a hard decision.
Just to make Sigi’s lineup choices a little more difficult Andy Rose put in a man of the match performance against RSL and the Sounders signed Adam Moffat. The decision on who starts next to Alonso has become nearly as difficult as which forwards should play. Brad Evans should be back and will certainly be favorite to take his spot back but with Rose’s recent performances and Moffat’s experience Evans is going to have to earn his spot back.
I will be back later in the week with my match preview and projected lineup. If you were Sigi what formation would you use and who would be your starters?