A year ago, the Seattle Sounders scored a whopping 65 goals in 34 regular-season games for a robust 1.91 goals per game. That numbered ballooned to 89 goals in 44 matches if you include the playoffs, U.S. Open Cup and the friendly against Tottenham.
We know the Sounders weren't nearly as prolific this year, scoring 44 regular-season goals and 59 in 43 total matches. But upon watching the video of all those 59 goals, we do learn a few things:
1. Of Clint Dempsey's 13 all-competition goals, a remarkable number of them were off rebounds or otherwise the kind of goals you'd expect a "poacher" to score. Seven of his goals, in fact, were from rebounds or a product of the goalkeeper mishandling the ball; one was a penalty; and another came when he was basically able to walk the ball into the net. That's not so much a knock on Dempsey's game, but it does illustrate how big a part of it is being far up the field and pouncing on opportunities. Yes, Dempsey also had some impressive assists, but watching these highlights it's hard to come away thinking the Sounders should pull him back into the midfield on a permanent basis.
2. As a bit of a contrast, Martins' goal often are the product of individual brilliance or just being very good in one-on-one situations. I counted nine such goals among his 16 across all competitions where Martins either did most of the work himself or used his speed to get behind the defense. It's possible that this kind of play is a little easier to game-plan against, though, which might explain why he's yet to score a postseason goal.
3. Lamar Neagle only scored seven goals, but most of them were really nice. That's part of what makes Neagle such a frustrating player, of course, but it's helps explain why Sigi Schmid was so willing to give him opportunities and why there's a decent chance he's back in 2015. Yes, that brilliance is surrounded by long bouts of ineffectiveness, but that skill is very obviously there.
4. There are way too few set-piece goals. Taking out the three penalties, the Sounders got just seven goals off set pieces. On one hand, scoring 49 goals from the run of play is pretty good. But it also shows that the Sounders just weren't very effective at generating dangerous chances. A year ago, as a point of comparison, the Sounders scored 16 set-piece goals and six penalties in the MLS regular-season alone. If you're looking for where the drop off came, that's a pretty good place to start.
5. Weird as it seems, the Sounders actually had 14 different goal-scorers. That's actually tied for sixth most in MLS and the same number of goal-scorers as they had last year (as long as you include all-competitions and the friendly). For all the complaints that the Sounders were too reliant upon Dempsey and Martins, their goal-scoring actually was reasonably diverse by the end of the year.
* One bonus observation: Leo Gonzalez's goal was so sweet and if that's the last great memory we have of him, that will work just fine.