Whether you read this on Saturday night or Sunday morning - Happy New Year. Twenty-eleven was good for this little website. We had about 2.6 million page views, made our first run of scarves, hosted our first major event, launched a podcast, had mobile apps put out by the network (iOS and Android so far) and saw one of our writers recognized by MLSsoccer.com as one of the top American soccer journalists on twitter.
2012 will continue to see the community and the website expand. There will be new scarves, new events, new writers and who knows what else. Some Jeremiah and I have planned, some will just be reactions to inspiration when they occur. What I can assure you is that our mix of news, analysis and passion will continue.
Now for some Sounders themed New Year Resolutions. A few fanciful and a few that may be accomplished.
Clone Osvaldo Alonso - when I dream of a partner central midfielder to the Honey Badger I constantly think of another Honey Badger. Sure it won't happen, but I also won't lose these twenty pounds.
Give Mike Fucito a significant run - He's less than 1900 minutes in all competitions under his belt in his two active seasons. In that time he has 10 goals and 3 assists good for 4th in goals and 6th in points. There's competition to be Montero's partner, hopefully each gets a significant run based on time on the field not assumptions of big/small.
Win a Major & Minor Trophy - That's a strong minimum. I like supporting a winning team with soon to be 40,000 other people with the Sounders in their hearts. These past three season feel like the minimum level to be called success.
Good Health for Steve Zakuani and O'Brian White - I'm not talking about returning to the pitch. I'm talking about just being healthy men again.
Sign a HomeGrown Player - Whether Lange or Jones or Yedlin or Okoli or Palodichuk or Kovar I don't care. I just want to see one of the Academy guys get that first nod.
In many ways these are resolutions similar to those I will make for myself - to write fiction every day, to practice Arabic everyday and to workout every day. Noble goals, but they may not last through January
Jeremiah's Sounders resolutions are similar
Stun MLS With Player Move - Make at least one move that forces the league to take notice. Last year, that move ended up being the signing of Mauro Rosales. This year, it could be signing a new DP, but I'd be perfectly satisfied with doing something bold in order to grab someone like Kelyn Rowe in the SuperDraft.
World Class Broadcasting - Sign a world-class announcer, but more importantly continue to push the envelope when it comes to what we should expect a locally produced MLS broadcast to look and sound like.
Consistent Partner For Montero - Develop a strike partner that can supplement and push Fredy Montero to even greater heights. That player might already be on the roster. I could see any one of Mike Fucito, Sammy Ochoa or O'Brian White doing that very thing. He might be a new player. Either way, this team needs someone to be consistently partnered and productive alongside Montero if he is to reach the heights so many of think he can.
Offense from Defense - Increase the offensive output from defenders. Last year, the Sounders go three goals and eight assists from their defenders in all competitions. While their primary focus has to be stopping others from scoring, there's no reason the Sounders fullbacks can't double their output of six assists and the center backs should be able to improve on their two combined goals.
Win A Trophy Sounders Haven't Won Before - Add some variety to the trophy case. As nice as winning three straight U.S. Open Cups is -- and I don't want to diminish that -- this season will feel incomplete if a fourth straight title is the only hardware the Sounders win. I keep going back and forth on which I'd rather win -- CONCACAF Champions League or MLS Cup -- but I'd be perfectly satisfied with either. Winning all three would, of course, be even better.
Here are sidereal's:
Beat Santos Laguna - Obviously winning the CCL trophy would be ideal, but it seems a bit greedy when no MLS team has done it. Real Salt Lake's run to the final last year was memorable, but remember they didn't have to face a Mexican team until the end. Beating a Mexican club in the CCL knockouts seems like a big achievement to me.
Get 3 goals from Zakuani - Goals means he's on the field and that's a huge achievement given where he started. I think we'll need to look to next year to see Zakuani hopefully back on the development track he was before the injury.
Get 3 goals from White - Ditto
Send at least one Academy team to Finals Week - The season's first academy season last year was tremendously successful, with both teams making the playoffs. This season they should take the next step and send a team to the final 8.
Equal last season's regular season results - It's easy to take for granted that the Sounders have been in Supporters Shield contention every season they've existed. You shouldn't take it for granted. 63 points again next season would be great. If that gets the Shield (and in many seasons it would), great. If not, I won't complain.
Have a Happy New Year, stay safe and don't drive if you drink.
What are your Sounders related resolutions?