Three matches in eight days starts to wear on fans, on media, but mostly on players. The effect on this team was not fully apparent, as there was plenty of energy in a lineup that saw a few changes, but those changes were not what determined this outcome. Most often followers of a club would be happy maintaining a 5 point in 3 match rate, but today that story is different.
Yesterday it was a story of missed opportunities. Crossbars and Left posts were more effective in stopping the Sounders offense than the keeping by Cepero. Again we are shown positives for the future, but in looking backwards only hold onto the regret of points left on the table. The optimist will see the play of Montero, the pessimist the play of Marshall, the realist will understand that a midtable team plays exactly like the Sounders did last week.
Angel's Goal - Mr. Montero - The Future of the Set Play
Poaching is an art, and Angel showed the Northwest audience why he has been a successful goal scorer in every league he has played. His opponent made a mistake and took that ball made a single move and could have just walked it in, thankfully he didn't show boat like that.
Where does the fault lie amongst the three Sounders involved in that play?
Ty Marshall - Poor clearance. Showed why a bad defensive team made him available for allocation dollars. Marshall also showed that has a hot temper. It is probably he's losing a step maybe two. He will almost always win the header. Marshall has solid value, but he's often playing similar to a sweeper with Hurtado/Ianni in front. I don't think having the slowest man as the last man is a good idea. His mistakes have laid points at the table. Four in the past two matches, and he/Hurtado were the mistake makers on some of those tying goals back during the five match tie streak. Does that seem too harsh? My standard for the club is to be a top four club in the league in year one. Marshall's leadership along the back four is part of the reason for success, and is clearly deserves to be getting top two minutes at the Centerback.
Patrick Ianni? getting hit in the backside is his fault? He did know it was coming but it was basically directly at his thighs/groin and he turned to avoid the painful area. I don't think he had enough time to fall to the mat. I can't conceive of any way beyond a hand ball for him to avoid it.
Keller gambled that the ball would move quickly past the 18 line, BUT it slowed and didn't cross and then all was lost as Kasey wasn't on his line and couldn't use his hands. I think it had more to do with the poor pitch than a poor decision by the National hero. The good news is that there is very little chance to play on old FieldTurf on top of concrete again this season.
He was clearly the better Colombian striker today and if I'm a fan of that national team I want him up soon, for he can take advantage of mistakes - thank you Hall - create while double teamed, and harried that defensive line forcing them into poor choices throughout the day.
Montero showed a complete game in New York city and was clearly the best player on the pitch for that one day. A day with two National team stars on either end. A day where Alonso played quite well. A day where Mac Kandji had the flair going in opposition. It didn't matter. Fredy Montero was the MAN.
There's the highlight package, quick and clean. But that show demonstrates why Fredy Montero is now in the conversations with Landon Donovan, Guillermo Barros Schelotto and Conor Casey as the best offensive player in the league. That's how good this non-DP has been. In fact in the top 10 in the Golden Boot race only Montero and Donovan are assisting with their scoring.
Fredy's PP90 is at a 1.45 behind or tied with only those three men. While we didn't get to see how the Freddyain chemistry develops with Ljungberg resting it is clear that Montero continues to grow into the league. The league continues to foul him more than just about anyone (Javier Morales is competing for the title as well).
The Future of the Set Play
Maybe the solution has been discovered for the kick taker, for in the Meadowlands Seb Le Toux placed several balls exactly where they should be. While he may not be the best crosser on the club he is as good if not better than any of the other players at taking the corner, even after getting his ankle stomped (I know not technically a corner). With service like that Seattle should finish the season as a better than average set play team.
The next step is conversion. The diminutive Monter nearly scored off a Le Toux corner, Marshall battled for another. Brad Evans surprised Patrick Ianni with a backheal in the 6 yard box. While that was on the ground, and not the expectation for a successful corner it quite nearly worked.
For the first time this season I think the future of the corner is bright. I still want to see more of Seba on the Free Kick, and liked Montero with the close enough to score situations. The only thing that might mess this up is how the Swede will take this slight diminishment in role. If I'm Sigi I desperately need Seattle to convert on a Le Toux to Ljungberg Free Kick against Colorado.
I did the Player Ratings for Prost Amerika again. Feel free to let me know how I did.
Remember while the Primary Registration (Transfer) Window in England (and most of Europe) opens on July 1st, the Secondary Window opens on July 15th for MLS. This means that if Sounders or another MLS team want a man they better convince him to wait a few weeks while getting likely stronger offers from the big money clubs in Europe. BUT the money is better there, though they will likely play less often.
The next three matches in league play are stretched over many weeks. Sounders have a must win against Colorado to hold them back, and must pick up four against Houston and Chicago. If they do that the 3rd 6 will result in 12 points matching the start of the season leaving Sounders with 29 points and 12 to play. That Rapids here match is vital as the Rapids have games at home in hand on every team in the league.