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Sounders July - More Of The Same?

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The monthly look aheads for June and May (but just the late part) showed that the Seattle Sounders were unlikely to continue that powerful run with which they started the season. The crowded schedule, quality of opponents and the amount of travel were some of the indicators that they would drop points. Still, the amount dropped was much greater than was anticipated at the time (those dropped points were against Salt Lake, Columbus and Portland). The shoulda-woulda-coulda game would only have resulted in 5 more points on the season. Of course since the Sounders ended the first half of 2012 with the best record in their MLS history those 5 points would have been important, enough to push Seattle into a battle for 2nd/3rd rather than 3rd/4th/5th in the West.

July has some positives (fewer total games) and some negatives (traveling 8,258 miles over three road trips). There's also two distractions from competition in this month where players and fans can just have fun enjoying matches where results don't matter. Here at home is the friendly against Chelsea and over at PPL park is the MLS All Star Game, also against Chelsea. A Sounder player or two should get to do both.

But it's still a rough month to predict a strong points streak. For Seattle to go on a run of form in July it would take doing so on the road either at elevation or in the Eastern Time Zone. Sagarin is predicting only a single win in MLS play, but also says that the Open Cup should be a win. Sidereal's crunchy numbers look better, but don't include home/away adjustments. A four point month could actually be seen as a numerical success, even though it will feel like a failure.

Team

Location

PPM

locPPM

Last 5

Sagarin

GFper

GAper

Crunch v SSFC

Real Salt Lake

Away

1.78

2.00

6

-0.60

1.56

1.17

8

Colorado Rapids

Home

1.38

0.75

7

0.53

1.50

1.31

27

Chivas USA (USOC)

Home

1.19

1.71

6

1.10

0.69

1.13

53

New York Red Bulls

Away

1.83

2.43

6

-0.73

1.88

1.47

18

Colorado Rapids

Away

1.38

2.00

7

-0.45

1.50

1.31

27

Total PPM

Home PPM

Away PPM

Crunch Number

Seattle Sounders FC

1.53

1.78

1.25

3

2.17

1.24

1.06

77

Real Salt Lake - Looking at just the basic numbers Seattle is a dramatic underdog. Here at SaH we'll be taking a deeper look into the game over the next 40ish hours or so, but the quick note is that they too are slumping. Though for not as long. Still they are a better offensive team, about even defensively and they are at home. Expected result? Loss.

Colorado Rapids -This is the most favorable MLS match for the club in July. It's at home and that's a big part of that (btw - Seattle is actually better at home than on the road). The Rapids might be the definition of an average MLS team right now. Good at home, bad on the road and fairly similar Goals For/Against numbers. Expected result? Win.

Chivas USA - The Open Cup and all it's glory(?) should see the Sounders advance to the Final for a fourth straight time. The Goats are a poor road side that struggles to score goals and while decent defensively some of that is due to pace of play in their matches. Expected result? Win.

New York Red Bulls - The final East Coast road trip of the regular season is the best news about this game. This turning point away from interconference play to just battling the West should help every MLS side, but the Cascadia teams need that help the most. Red Bull reworked their defense and the offense didn't take a big dive when Thierry Henry went out. This has bad written all over it. Expected Result? Loss

Rapids Away - The inverse of the earlier match outlined above the Rapids now get the advantage of playing a Mile High. That advantage should be the difference maker. Expected Result? Loss

Now those expected results are merely based on paper. Games will still be played and the Sounders first quarter of a season saw them pickup points while their second quarter of a season saw them drop points. There is good news Sounders fans - the season's final stretch ends on a home stretch so your emotions will shoot back up eventually. Getting to that stretch is going to be a bit brutal though.