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Sounders: lingering thoughts from the Union match

Sigi pulled the right string to get the result despite a less-than-desirable overall effort from his team on Saturday.
Sigi pulled the right string to get the result despite a less-than-desirable overall effort from his team on Saturday.

I was away for the weekend so instead of my usual breakdown I am just offering up this quick post of some of the things I have been thinking about since the match on Saturday afternoon.

The anti-Brad Evans sentiment has become excruciatingly tiresome to me...

If I've said it before and I'll say it again, Evans' role as a mostly deep-lying CM who can help out Osvaldo Alonso and pick his spots going forward would be valued by every team in the League, and attacking mids will take up wide roles in Sigi Schmid's system.  Having said that, Evans was horrific Saturday...

Which begs the other question of "As Evans goes, so go the Sounders, or As the Sounders go, so goes Evans?"  It is the emerging "chicken or the egg" question of the 2011 campaign so far.

A front 4 of Steve Zakuani, Fredy Montero, and Mauro Rosales, with either O'Brian White or Nate Jaqua leading the line, could strike fear into he hearts of hearts of MLS...

Erik Friberg and Alvaro Fernandez are great guys to have in the 18, and will prove mighty valuable as this long season progresses.

As for Friberg, I would like to see him play more simple passes along the ground.  Long balls are great when they are like Jaqua's luscious delivery to Zakuani against Chicago, but I feel like Friberg has far too many "I can't think of anything else to do so I'll just chuck it and hope someone gets a head to it."  From what I've seen from Friberg, his efforts don't always accomplish much, and although I'm not necessarily a fan of Fernandez's "slow and technical" style I think it might be better.  Of course, I think I'll prefer Rosales to either of them.

It's nice to see we can play like crap for most of 70 minutes and eek out a draw on the road...

After a solid first 10 minutes, the Sounders were quite bad until Sigi's changes started to take effect, then it just seemed like a race to get that goal before the final whistle came.  We can thank the Philadelphia Union and Peter Nowak for that, in part, for seeming determined to win 1-0.  Philly will not stand out as a very exciting team to watch, or so it seems, but you also can't argue results. 

As for those changes, I admit to being mystified by the talk of a system change.  Good coaches do things like pull defenders for forwards against teams bunkering with a 1-0 lead, and I don't understand how this constitutes a move to a 3-5-2 or 3-4-3 or 3-2-4-1 system... If anything, Sigi will make the subtle change to 4-2-1-3 like last year.  And even so, he wouldn't do it based on one match to begin with.

Good players can have bad games, and the weather can have something to do with it.

Steve Zakuani is a dribbler, and it wasn't a dribbler's day yesterday.  He ain't out there for his defense, and he ain't out there because he's a grinder.  And even given all of that, is it a coincidence he played a part in our goal?

Ozzie fouled Kyle Nakazawa to set up the free kick which lead to Philly's goal...

Although I don't think it was a yellow card, mainly because Ozzie did win the ball cleanly with his front foot.  He also came through with his back foot and "scissored" Nakazawa, which constitutes a dangerous challenge, and that is what Terry Vaughn called.  The players, coaches, and fans should know better, and in a League with as much thugish play as the MLS, its better for everyone that these types of things get called.

Let's keep grinding out results...

6 points through 6 matches is obviously not a pace we want to see continue - remember that we stood at 16 through 16 last year and it was a disastrous season to that point - but let's assess the situation clearly.  One point through our first three obviously sucked, particularly when it probably should've been at least 4 points, but since then we have a home win sandwiched by road draws in which we weren't necessarily the better team that day... and next week we visit a quite capable Colorado Rapids team.

Now, it's another topic altogether regarding coming off looking perhaps second-best against San Jose and Philly.  But this is a parity league, and it may just be that the margins on any given weekend are that narrow.  Juggernaut teams are the exception in this league.  In '09 the Columbus Crew started off winless through 7 and won the Supporters' Shield, and the L.A. Galaxy were 1-1-9 and ended up second overall.  Last year the Crew rocketed out to a 6-0-2 start before ending as, quite frankly, a very average - if not below average - team.  I've already mentioned FC Dallas and Real Salt Lake last year.

I have made it quite clear that i want the Supporters' Shield more than any other trophy this year, but that certainly hasn't come close to being won or lost yet.  Yeah, RSL looks like a juggernaut this year, but it's too early to worry about that.

Perhaps the best things to remember is our own inaugural '09 campaign, deemed smashingly successful by most observers: in between a 3-0-0 start and a 3-0-0 finish we were a very mediocre 6-7-11, good for 29 points in those 24 matches...

The lesson is, as always, don't panic.

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