If that match had happened in the first month, we would have been thrilled. If that match had happened in month two we would have been satisfied. But when it happens in the fourth month we get disappointed.
And rightly so.
Because last night Sounders FC played like an expansion team. There were moments of brilliance, there were moments of miscommunication, there were defensive lapses. The chemistry was lacking, and quite frankly the only reason all viewers are pissed, is because the Sounders have performed at a level of success beyond an expansion team.
Ljungberg left alone - Defensive Lapses - Stats update (Le Toux fans read on)
Freddie Ljungberg unfortunately again performed like a Sims character. Routinely open and unchecked, he was available on the right wing and sometimes centrally. Whether he was bypassed by Montero, or Le Toux, or Evans, he was by passed. This isn't the first time that the team hasn't found Ljungberg when he is available, but maybe part of the reason players aren't making their runs as much as they should, is because when they do, even if they are GREAT they still don't get the rock.
If Ljungberg had gotten the pass on a Montero-LeToux-Montero give-and-go that ended in another deflection (ugh) Marshall's gaff would have effected a tie-breaker situation in November for a playoff slot, but instead, Ljungberg (nominally the best offensive player on the club) didn't get his third goal on the season, instead he got to scream at his teammates.
When Montero netted his goal, it was Ljungberg's clear signal for the ball that gave Fredy space to act. While the goal was scored, Ljungberg's movement was as important as Montero's on that play. And honestly, if you were an Arsenal great would you want yourself for that goal, or the Depo.Cali punk that stole the ball from you last week?
While the Freddyain worked together quite well together, and Montero played likely his best match of the year, there are some indications that maybe it is the integration of the Designated Player that is the primary issue on offense, at least within recent weeks.
Keller went off in the postgame, and during the game even. He has yet to call out a teammate specifically, but in the last two matches, four goals have been scored against the Rave Green, and ALL of them are from defensive chemistry/focus issues. These last four goals against are the type that expansion teams get hit with, they aren't the goals of beauty from the opposition, but goals that are gifted.
These are the goals that come from inexperience; from a lack chemistry. The communication amongst the back five and Keller needs work. When Riley goes forward one of Hurtado and Alonso MUST swing right, the other must work to cover Marshall's back when he's up in the air likely winning an aerial challenge. Wahl on the left should close centrally, but ready to leap out on the wide players. It didn't happen enough yesterday. That's how the defense improves. Through better knowledge of who holds what role in responding to the counter, because in build-up they are fine, but in quick deep counter on the punt Sounders FC seem vulnerable.
When the season started the expectation was that Sounders would have a top 5 offense, top 3 keeper and at best a mid-table defense. Last night was a clear example of mid-table defense. BUT, still after 14 matches, Seattle is still in solid shape in that issue. Keller, Onstad and Thornton are the best keepers. Sounders offense is the 6th most potent, and yet, even after that poor defensive performance Sounders rank 3rd. THIRD best D, from an expansion team.
I'll update the tables and put them up in a bit, but I thought I would let everyone know something. I'm counting an own goal as an additional negative one in the team plus/minus, but not in productivity. I think this shows an adequate penalty for the action, but still ensures that I can use PP90 to rate the overall league.
Highlights after Match Day Fourteen
Montero is at 1.40, followed by Jaqua, Zakuani, Ljungberg. Jaqua was not credited with a goal, which while silly, isn't as absurd as him not getting a shot credited.
Keller leads with a 9, but second is a man by himself, one Seb Le Toux with 7. Hurtado, Marshall, Evans, Alonso are all at six, with Riley, Jaqua, Montero and Scott at 5.
I will be on SFI TV as soon as editing is done. You will see it here when it is up on the 'net.
Adrienne, I was an ass. I could give the excuse that I hurt me knee, or that I was stunned by the loss, or that I was shocked that someone knew me, but those would be excuses. I'll get you a beer next match.
Cornchops, great to see you again. Hopefully you are there next match.
By the way, Mike Gastineau at KJR-AM Seattle is doing a solid job talking Sounders in a way that gets interest from main stream fans. Gas and I caught up for two breaks and a segment yesterday, and hopefully he has me on in the near future.
Lastly, weeknight match wasn't all bad. Though it was odd to see the stadium fill late. Let's get the word out stronger about schedule changes in the future. And ESPN, you have Four networks on most TVs. If you are going to bump MLS, at least bump it to a station, rather than the ether. That was the kind of match that could create fans and interest. It was well played and was the best team of MLS 1.0 and the best of MLS 3.0.
Lastly, the Alliance Council has a site created so that they can better communicate with YOU. I'm quite near getting on the thing, so get me just a handful of votes.
Ok, I have added something else. It would seem that the optimist and pessimist got switched this week. ProstAmerika came away feeling good from last night - kinda.