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Getting width wasn't the problem, using it was

The vaunted Seattle Sounders FC attack was shutout. Vancouver Whitecaps forced Seattle's wide action into things that they don't do well. There are fixes available.

These two need to be not just drift compatible, but to drift to new spaces
These two need to be not just drift compatible, but to drift to new spaces
Steven Bisig-USA TODAY Sports

Seattle Sounders FC threw in a bunch of crosses in the loss on Friday night. That generally means that a team is getting into wide areas fairly well. The main problem that Seattle encountered with those crosses is that they completed zero. Waston is damn good.

Matt Doyle outlines the issue with unsuccessful crossing better than I can, plus he already did it. Go read that, then come back.

Seattle needs width. They want to use it effectively, but pump and dump crosses aren't the only way to do it. That was an issue Friday night. Since the middle was clogged so effectively by a team that bunkered in with two, low lines after the lead, the Sounders need to break through what was then a strong defense.

Playing in wide areas is not only about variety, but also about getting space for Martins and Dempsey. The two clearly like to play in tight spaces and work with each other. Much of how the offense is designed is getting the two Designated Players the ball where they can be dangerous. Sometimes that spot is wide, and other times it's right at the top of the 18-yard box with the two just a few yards from each other.

On Friday, they didn't get that space. Just look at where Seattle's three most creative players (Pappa included) attempted dribbles per WhoScored's new chalkboards.

The worst news about that is the only successful dribbles by those three were all by Pappa and near the centerline. That middle was clogged. It was clogged in the air by Waston, and it was clogged on the ground by Teibert/Laba.

Sounders FC need other ways through that. In the past that's meant Obafemi Martins and/or Clint Dempsey out wide with the other one in the middle able to work with Pappa close and late runs by other midfielders. The best late running mids were at right back or on the bench for this game.

That compounded the issue.

So despite dominated passing, controlling the final third, Seattle had few shots. Their creative players weren't succeeding with their magic. The air battle was horrible, and not really a surprise as they lacked the height and air skills to win it.

If LA does the same, and they might as they have a better defensive CB pairing than Waston/O'Brien in Gonzalez/DeLaGarza, then Seattle needs a new wide path. That's up to Oba and Clint to recognize, adjust and succeed. They'll have better pieces available with Yedlin back and another midfield shuffle, but in the end it's on the best players to do what they do, and that's score goals.

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