It’s been a long time since the Seattle Sounders could feel genuinely good about a performance. The last time they won a league game was June 1. The last time they’d won at home was on May 7. Heck, they hadn’t even scored a goal at home since that 2-0 win over the San Jose Earthquakes.
The Sounders scored more goals in this one (5) than they had in their previous eight (4) and nearly as many as they had in their previous nine home games (7).
To say they needed this win over FC Dallas on Wednesday is surely putting it mildly. The Sounders were in the dumps. The mood around the team was bad. They needed something positive and they got it in a big way. Sigi Schmid was practically giddy in the postgame press conference. Players were laughing and joking in the locker room. It was pleasant, which is not how it’s been for a couple months now.
How important this ends up being will be determined in the next few weeks, but for now it’s a massive sigh of relief.
OK, but let’s not get ahead of ourselves...
Dallas played a road game against the Earthquakes on Friday and stayed on the West Coast all week. There were seven changes to their starting lineup and several key starters didn’t even play. Then there was the 3rd minute red card to Maynor Figueroa and the subsequent penalty.
Let’s call this what it was: The Sounders beat up on a depleted team and took advantage of a fortunate call early on.
BUT ... let’s not dismiss it either. The Sounders are in no position to look too critically at any win these days and they deserve credit for putting Dallas to the sword. Even after Clint Dempsey got sent off with a red card, the Sounders were the better team for most of the 50-odd minutes they played 10v10. Dallas didn’t even take a shot until the 85th minute or so and never tested Stefan Frei. This was as dominant a victory as the Sounders have had ... maybe ever.
That it came against the Supporters’ Shield leaders should be acknowledged as well.
The 4-4-2 looked good
Once again the lineup went into the book as a 4-3-3, but don’t be fooled. This was a 4-4-2 all the way. Morris played up top, Dempsey dropped in behind and Cristian Roldan was out wide.
We probably shouldn’t make too much of the formation given they only were able to use it for about 35 minutes, but they looked comfortable. The players looked like they knew where they were supposed to be. The fullbacks overlapped when appropriate; Erik Friberg and Osvaldo Alonso bossed the midfield; Andreas Ivanschitz looked more engaged and dangerous than we’ve seen him in months. MONTHS!
This was something the Sounders can build on. Put players in roles where they can thrive and worry about formational consistency throughout the organization later.
Joevin Jones was a stud
There have been times when Jones has looked absolutely lost this year. This game he looked to be everywhere. Jones was flying up and down the left flank, completing 91 percent of his passes, helping set up one goal and scoring another. He also had five tackles.
It was the kind of performance we’ve been waiting for. If Jones can build on this, there’s every reason to think he can become a truly special player.