There are times when you rewatch a game and find new nuggets of truth, things you may have missed in the moment when the blood was pumping and tensions were high. "We got played off the pitch" can turn into "Eh, it wasn't so bad" or "I can't believe we didn't score!!!" turns into "I guess those chances weren't so good. But then there are games like Sunday's between the Seattle Sounders and LA Galaxy that turn out to be just as frustrating and head-scratching as they were the first time around.
We'll have some deep analysis later in the week, but for now here are some quick observations from the 1-0 loss.
Those missed chances were really bad
You pepper a goalkeeper with 10 shots on frame and you feel like you really deserve at least one goal. Of course, all shots aren't created equal and if you're just firing away from 20 yards out, you kinda get what you deserve. Except that really wasn't what happened on Sunday.
I was fully expecting to see that most of those chances weren't nearly as good as I remembered them, but some of them were actually better, I hate to say.
Of Lamar Neagle's six shots, for instance, there are at least three I'm sure he went to bed thinking about. In the 22nd minute, he had a great look at a header. Although he forced Penedo into a diving save, Neagle had tons of space to aim at. In the 35th minute, Neagle created some space for himself on a breakaway, but instead of trying to hit it inside the near post he went back across where Penedo was only too happy to be waiting. Neagle also had a chance that was very reminiscent of the goal he scored in the penultimate game a year ago. Only this time, instead of beating Penedo five-hole, the shot to the near post was saved.
Neagle was far from the only one who will want chances back, though. Marco Pappa got an open look from the edge of the penalty area in the 49th minute that he sent just wide and then there two more chances that will haunt our dreams if these dropped points prove meaningful.
For all his missed chances, Neagle nearly made up for them with a great run down the near sideline. Just before the ball reached the endline, Neagle cut it back to Andy Rose who had cut inside his defender and was open at the edge of the 6-yard box. Rose gets a clean swipe at the ball, connects squarely and somehow manages to hit Penedo's knee. It's the kind of chance that goes in 9 of 10 times.
The final "big chance" came in the 87th minute. Pappa fed Martins on the counter-attack and the Sounders looked to have numbers with Chad Barrett and Aaron Kovar available. Martins struggled to get the ball free, but that worked to his advantage as Robbie Rogers ended up deflecting the ball to Barrett, who otherwise would have been offside. Although the assistant referee's flag went up, Mark Geiger waved the play on. That confusion, though, may have also hurt Kovar, who ended up with the ball at his feet and seemed to hesitate before shooting. Instead of hitting it first time, Kovar's brief pause allowed Penedo to come off his line and eliminate the angle.
Any one of those go in and it's a very different game. I'm not sure if this makes me feel any better, but it does underscore just effectively the Sounders created chances.
Evans still feeling it out
Five games in and opinions about Brad Evans' ability to play center back seem to be leveling out. Sure, there was the disaster against the San Jose Earthquakes, but he's ranged between acceptable to outstanding in the other games. Against the Galaxy, it was probably much closer to "acceptable."
Evans didn't look out of place and you can easily excuse him for failing to win the header that Omar Gonzalez sent to Alan Gordon on the game's only goal, but there were a couple moments to give us pause.
The biggest came in the 48th minute. The sequence starts with Evans unable to clear a shot into the box. Robbie Rogers ends up with the ball at his feet where he's able to get past Evans and fire off a shot from about 10 yards out that forces Stefan Frei into a diving save at the near post. Evans gets to the rebound first and uses some decent dribbling to create some space. But Evans' clearance is low and does come close to getting out of danger. Juninho ends up with a clear shot from about 22 yards out, but he whistles it just wide.
Evans is continuing to show that he's very much up to the task of being a defender, but he still seems to show some midfielder instincts -- like when to simply boot the ball as far as you can -- at inopportune times.
Where's the rest of the attack?
It's still probably the category of "statistical oddity" but the lack of scoring from anyone other than Obafemi Martins and Clint Dempsey is starting to be a little worrisome. It's not just that they are the only two players putting the ball in the net, it's that the Sounders have yet to score when even one of them is off the field.
That the Sounders are more dangerous with the best attacking duo in MLS is not surprising. That's how it should be. But they are both going to miss time this season and the Sounders are going to need to figure out ways to score.
The Galaxy match was at least a good start. Generating 14 shots and 11 "chances" shows that this team is still capable to putting opponents on their heels, but the longer this goes on the bigger issue it will become. Alexi Lalas called Neagle a "half prong" on Sunday's broadcast. The only way to change that perception is for him -- or someone else -- to start scoring at a regular clip.