A post in two parts. I decided that this week's stats and standings update would focus on the Sounders' defense, as last week was offense, and a shutout always feels good. An argument could be made that Sounders are one of the best defensive teams in the league, if you look deeper than just goals against.
First though let's look at the PPM Standings
Colorado gets pushed up, while Seattle and Houston get pushed down. Seattle is outside the playoff picture by any measure though. Seattle's next two matches are against the worst two teams in the league with DC this week, and then hopefully opening up PPL Park by crushing the hapless Union. But that will also still only put them edging into the Playoffs. There's a big hole that's been dug, but at the same time there are some bright shiny indicators that things are getting better. Not just because of last night's win, but because...
The Defense is DAMN GOOD
I'm not talking just about Run-of-Play vs Set-Play. I'm including everything, and the Sounders have as strong a defense as anyone. Well, anyone except the Galaxy, those guys aren't even in MLS anymore.
Sure, the Sounders are only 6th in Goal Against Average, but they are first in Shots Against Average, and second in Shots on Goal Against Average. The fact is that the Sounders are great at limiting the opposition's opportunities, and much of this has to do with the strength of players like Hurtado, Marshall, Alonso and recently Parke and Ianni.
They are even doing a better than league average ability in limiting Assists:Goal ratio, a sign that goals against have generally come not from great ball movement by the opposition, but on set-plays or spectacular singular effort.
If "defense wins championships" then Seattle is still in the running.
All of this will get tweaked a bit with one more match before the World Cup Break, but with Seattle expecting to return to health soon, and nKufo coming signs are pretty bright right now.