You're unlikely to see a MLS team dominate as much as the Seattle Sounders did on Friday and come away with less to show for it. The Sounders fired off a team-record 26 shots, eight of them on target. Fredy Montero, O'Brian White and Steve Zakuani accounted for 18 of those shots, by themselves three times as many shots as the entire Houston Dynamo team managed. Yet, the boys in Rave Green needed an 80th minute goal from Steve Zakuani just to salvage a 1-1 tie, their first point of the three-game-old 2011 season.
There's no point in detailing all the nitty-gritty details here. (If you're really interested, read my live stream at Seattle.SBNation.) Just know that the Sounders dominated this game from the opening whistle, conceded a somewhat unlucky goal on a well taken free kick, and needed a late goal just to get a point.
Before the game, we openly talked about needing a victory in order not to panic, but we never imagined a victory eluding the Sounders in this way. The Sounders played well in every facet other than scoring a goal. They dominated possession, created chances, forced the opposing keeper into several saves and kept their foot on the pedal. But they didn't finish their chances. Any of this sound familiar?
In many ways, this is the same tune the Sounders were singing early in the 2010 season. But this really does feel different. While that team was dominating possession and outshooting their opponents, there were very obvious shortcomings that could be identified. There was obvious frustration. There was undeniable turmoil. The team did not look particularly dangerous for long stretches.
Especially on Friday, this was not the case. The lockerroom scene was hardly celebratory, but players were taking the tie in stride. Kasey Keller, always one to count on for an honest assessment, seemed almost upbeat.
"You keep creating chances like that, keeping it as tight in the back as we did, there are a lot of better days in our future," the veteran goalkeeper said. "It was a great effort from everybody and if we play like this, we're going to win a lot of matches."
There's no question a result like this is frustrating. It would be easy to say that if the Sounders only had a clinical finisher that this season would already be looking a lot different. But the reality is that no such player will be rolling into town in the immediate future. The Sounders seem well aware of their predicament, but with 31 games left to play, panicking just seems counter-productive. Not to sound too much like a Polly Ann, but there are real positives to be taken away from a match like this. Unfortunately, that won't be enough for too much longer.